Democrat Bob Kerrey threw a press conference Monday and Republicans crashed the party, as the two sides dueled over debates in the final week of Nebraska's U.S. Senate campaign.
Kerrey called the news conference — outside the hallway of his campaign office — to challenge Republican Deb Fischer to a fourth debate. His call for another debate comes as Fischer has accused Kerrey of being more interested in talking about a 1995 lawsuit over a land dispute than about the issues.
Kerrey said he wanted to “put to rest” any concerns Fischer had about his willingness to talk about the issues by offering another debate.
“Any time, any place. The more people who can watch it, the better,” said Kerrey.
Two top Republicans in the state attended Kerrey's press conference: GOP Chairman Mark Fahleson and Jordan McGrain, executive director of the Nebraska Republican Party.
When Kerrey was done, Fahleson held a press conference of his own. Fahleson said Kerrey's debate request was an attempt to obscure the fact that he has spent several weeks criticizing Fischer over the 1995 lawsuit.
Fischer and her husband, Bruce, had filed a lawsuit against their neighbors in which they argued essentially that they had grazed 104 acres of their neighbors' land for more than a decade and that they had become the land's rightful owners.
Fahleson urged Kerrey to sign a “Principles Pledge,” supporting many of the issues Fischer has embraced: a balanced budget amendment, the repeal of President Obama's health-care law and a promise not to vote for any tax hikes.
“This is a race about principles and policies. While Bob Kerrey has engaged in a personal, negative campaign, Deb Fischer has stuck to her principles,” he said.
In the end, there was little chance of a fourth debate. Fischer's campaign squashed the idea almost immediately.
“There will not be another debate. She said we (would) have three debates in the very beginning, and we've had our three debates,” said Daniel Keylin, Fischer's spokesman.
In addition to the debate proposal, Kerrey announced that he had landed the endorsement of former Sen. Alan Simpson, a Wyoming Republican who co-authored the Simpson-Bowles plan to help balance the nation's budget. Kerrey has supported the bulk of that plan.
Fischer touted her own endorsement Monday. Dan Whitney, aka Larry the Cable Guy, issued a tweet in which he said it was time for “fresh ideas.”
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