Colorado: Udall, Schaffer face off again in U.S Senate race |

Colorado: Udall, Schaffer face off again in U.S Senate race

Ed Sealover
Rocky Mountain News
Denver, CO Colorado
Javier Manzano/Rocky Mountain NewsMaggie Fox watches as her husband, Mark Udall, debates against Republican Bob Schaffer, left, Thursday afternoon.

DENVER, Colorado ” Colorado’s U.S. Senate candidates bickered their way through another debate today, but first there was a debate before the debate.

Channel 7 and the League of Women Voters hosted the 13th debate between Republican Bob Schaffer and Democrat Mark Udall. The 30-minute-long format featured short, rapid responses from the two men.

The debate was delayed when Schaffer showed up with notes, as he does for most events. However, the forum guidelines outlined by the sponsors stipulated that “candidates may not bring notes or props,” a rule Schaffer may have missed because his campaign did not sign the guidelines agreement.

Schaffer argued that voters watching the debates “deserve to have arguments that are reinforced with facts.” Udall, who said afterward that he “came prepared to depend on my wits and my memory,” agreed Schaffer could use the notes even though he’d brought none of his own.

When the event finally began, the candidates differed on issues such as higher-education funding and the enforcement of illegal-immigration laws.

Schaffer, a former congressman from Fort Collins, said Congress can reduce college students’ financial burden by allowing more companies to offer them loans, thereby increasing competition and lowering costs. Udall responded that reducing regulations on companies offering such loans could mean that less would offer good deals specifically to low-income students.

Udall, a congressman from Eldorado Springs, said the federal government needs to put more money into the federal Pell Grant program. Schaffer shot back that putting so much pressure on one entity to help poorer students was akin to pushing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to get more home loans to low-income people – and that resulted in their bankruptcies and contributions to the current economic crisis.

On illegal immigration, Udall said he believes the country must become tougher by increasing border-patrol agents and building a wall where needed on the U.S.-Mexico border. But he also pushed for streamlining a path to citizenship for those who want to come into the country and work legally.

Schaffer focused his plans on giving block grants to states and cities and asking them to step up their role in enforcing immigration laws. But he caused a minor tussle by adding that he opposes “sanctuary cities” that don’t enforce the laws while Udall doesn’t; Udall replied that he does not support sanctuary cities either.

The debate will be broadcast at 4:30 and 10:35 p.m. on Channel 7 and will be looped continuously on Comcast Channel 247 every half-hour beginning at 5:30 p.m. The next joint appearance by the candidates is scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight and will be hosted by the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado. or 303-954-5438

Reporter M.E. Sprengelmeyer contributed to this article.

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