By Sean Whaley | Nevada News Bureau
CARSON CITY — It took about 10 minutes for U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley to mix it up in their first debate in the U.S. Senate race, criticizing each other on campaign issues ranging from ethics to Medicare to big-oil subsidies.
The hour-long debate on KNPB-TV in Reno was the first chance for many voters to see the two candidates spar on the issues, most of which have been the focus of campaign attacks.
Heller, the Republican appointed to the seat last year, and Berkley, a seven-term Democrat representing the 1st District, will debate several more times between now and Election Day on Nov. 6.
Heller criticized Berkley for supporting big government bailouts and sequestration, a process which could see massive cuts in military and domestic spending, called the “fiscal cliff,” beginning in January if Congress cannot reach agreement on how to reduce spending. He also commented on the ethics issues that are dogging her through the campaign.
Berkley went after Heller for supporting big-oil tax breaks and a plan by Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan to change the Medicare program for younger Americans when they retire
But it was Heller’s alleged “hobos” remark that started the back-and-forth.