Walz, Quist clash in 1st debate in southern Minn.

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Associated Press

Posted on September 28, 2012 at 12:03 AM

Updated Friday, Sep 28 at 12:05 AM

BYRON, Minn. (AP) — Democratic Rep. Tim Walz and Republican challenger Allen Quist clashed sharply in their first one-on-one debate Thursday.

The 90-minute debate at Somerby Golf Community near Rochester showcased stark differences between the candidates, the Rochester Post-Bulletin reported (http://bit.ly/OsgzCs). Walz wants to create jobs by spending on transportation, education and research. Quist wants to cut government regulation and repeal the federal health care law.

The three-term incumbent called Quist a "hypocrite" for taking $600,000 in farm subsidies while opposing government subsidies.

Quist defended taking the subsidies, saying Walz voted for the legislation that included them. The challenger went after Walz as a big spender, accusing him of "financial irresponsibility on steroids" and failing to do anything about the mounting national deficit.

"Mr. Walz, like him or not, is right in the middle of the big-spending club," Quist said.

Walz, a retired National Guard officer, brought up to a statement Quist made in 2010 saying Democrats were a bigger threat to democracy than terrorism.

"I didn't serve this country in uniform for 24 years to be compared to a terrorist," Walz said.

He also called Quist an "extremist" for opposing a farm spending bill stalled in Washington, prompting Quist to demand an apology.

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Information from: Post-Bulletin, http://www.postbulletin.com

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