Senate debate, round two

At the second debate between MinnesotaâÄôs U.S. Senate candidates, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, Democrat Al Franken and Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley each mostly emphasized one anotherâÄôs differences in political philosophy and pointed fingers at one another for the financial crisis. Coleman appeared more cordial, easing up on his attacks after the last debate, where he was aggressive in emphasizing FrankenâÄôs lack of experience. This change in aggression is likely the result of a recent MPR and Humphrey Institute poll that showed Franken leading Coleman 41 to 37 percent, and Dean Barkley at 14 percent. This was a swing from the last poll taken by MPR and the Humphrey Institute, which was conducted between Sept. 29 and Oct. 1, and showed Coleman ahead at 40 percent and Franken at 31 percent. Coleman also decided to pull his negative ads of Franken, which seemed to hurt his favor. He said that his reason was due to the economic downturn and that during such a time people need more uplifting politics. It showed during the debate, during which he emphasized bipartisanship to get things done in Washington and references to situations when he worked with Democrats to pass a bill. âÄúI have always been a part of the solution,âÄù he said when answering a question about the economic crisis. Franken came off more confident, and continued to connect Coleman to the Bush administration and their shortfalls in the Iraq war and the economy. It happened on ColemanâÄôs watch, Franken said, and âÄúfighting for you,âÄù was a reoccurring phrase. One of the pivotal moments in the debate was when all three candidates took a very different stance on funding social security. Barkley proposed four solutions, which included raising the tax. Franken talked about his commitment to fix the situation, but said âÄúeventually we would have to have a solution for this,âÄù noting that he wouldnâÄôt want to invest it into the stock market like some politicians have suggested. Coleman attacked Franken about not stating an actual solution, but didnâÄôt seem to offer a clear solution either and then stated his absolute commitment to young people and the obligation to fund social security. Since Barkley outlined his four ideas for social security, we call on Franken and Coleman to clearly address the funding of social security and their plans for a solution.