Hirono, Lingle come out swinging in U.S. Senate debate

By Yunji de Nies
Published On: Oct 16 2012 11:00:00 PM HST

Candidates square off in KITV and Civilbeat.com's Senate debate.

HONOLULU -

Rep. Mazie Hirono and former governor Linda Lingle squared off in the KITV studio in a live debate for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Daniel Akaka.

With just three weeks until the election, each candidate came out swinging.

Less than one minute into the debate, Hirono launched into a familiar refrain.

"My Republican opponent's economic priorities, my Republican opponent's plan is exactly the same as Mitt Romney's," said Hirono.  "My Republican opponent has joined with the national Republican party."

Lingle stood her ground.

"My opponent has spent this entire campaign attacking national Republicans.  These will be the very people we would have to work with to get something done for Hawaii," said Lingle.

When the candidates had a chance to question each other, Hirono, again, pushed Lingle to defend her party.

"Tell me why specifically you believe Mitt Romney would be a better president for Hawaii than President Obama?" asked Hirono.

"Gov. Romney is a person who has, I believe, the proper experience at this time to get the economy back on track and I think that is the number one issue facing the country," responded Lingle.

PHOTOS: U.S. Senate Debate

The former governor accused the congresswoman of doing little to help the state.

"Your entire record of missed votes is twice that of your typical congressional colleague.  How can you look our citizens in the eye and claim that your poor attendance and lack of results reflect the local value of hard work?" asked Lingle.

"This is yet another misleading attack on the part of my Republican opponent," responded Hirono.

And as the hour flew by, the attacks kept coming.

"Who can forget Furlough Fridays on her watch or the Superferry fiasco?  Or the fact that 2,000 jobs were lost when Aloha Airlines went under -- direct jobs -- while [Lingle] sat on her hands," said Hirono.

"It's just too risky to send my opponent to the Senate.  [Hirono]'s not a strong leader, has no history of getting things done and doesn't work well with others," said Lingle.

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