U.S. Senate Debate, Feingold & Johnson

Posted at 7:27 PM, Oct 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-14 21:02:41-04
 GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- The Latest on the U.S. Senate debate (all times local):
7:50 p.m.
Democrat Russ Feingold says Sen. Ron Johnson is lying about when Feingold found out about problems at the veterans medical facility in Tomah.
Johnson accused Feingold of ignoring problems at Tomah when he was in the Senate, citing a Tomah employees' memo detailed alleged over-prescription abuse at the facility.
But the union official who circulated the memo has said that Feingold did not receive it when he was in the Senate.
Feingold says in the debate, "It's a sad moment for the state of Wisconsin when a senator from Wisconsin says something he knows isn't true." Feingold says "it's awful."
   Johnson did not get a chance to respond to Feingold's charges.
7:42 p.m.
The tone and tenor of Wisconsin's Senate debate is in stark contrast to the presidential debates.
Sen. Ron Johnson and challenger Russ Feingold are not interrupting one another or hurling insults in their Friday debate. The presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been marked by frequent interruptions and harsh rhetoric.
But Johnson and Feingold's debate is staid by comparison. Johnson and Feingold are standing close to one another at podiums at the Green Bay debate as they answer questions from a panel of journalists. While they are hitting their campaign talking points, they are not making personal attacks against one another.
   7:40 p.m.
Democrat Russ Feingold and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson are both hitting some of their main talking points in their first debate.
But Johnson and Feingold touched on major platforms of their campaigns in Friday's debate.
Johnson dinged Feingold for supporting President Barack Obama's health care law, and Feingold jabbed Johnson for once referring to social security as a "Ponzi scheme."
Feingold is also making a plug for his support of raising the minimum wage, which Johnson opposes. And Johnson is talking about the Joseph Project, an initiative he started that connects people in the inner city with manufacturing jobs.
Feingold is also challenging Johnson to drop his support of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
   7:38 p.m.
Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson stuck by Donald Trump in a debate Friday without actually saying the presidential candidate's name.
Referring to Trump as "our Republican nominee," Johnson said he supports him on a number of issues, including securing the border and fighting the Islamic state, but that he would not "defend the indefensible."
Johnson's Democratic opponent, former Sen. Russ Feingold, challenged Johnson to renounce Trump, who's been battered by accusations of sexual misbehavior. Trump has denied the allegations.
"This one of those times where you have to be an American first, not a politician running for office," Feingold said in the debate.
The race for president has cast a shadow over Wisconsin's Senate race, as Johnson said he supports but does not endorse Trump. He's also spoken out against Trump on a number of issues, most recently denouncing his crude comments about women. Johnson has also not campaigned with Trump in Wisconsin and planned to skip an upcoming rally Trump had planned for Monday in Green Bay, the same city where Friday's debate was taking place.
"I've not been shy in with disagreeing with our candidate, with our nominee. I'm not going to defend the indefensible." Johnson said during the debate.
Feingold said it is "completely irresponsible" to support Trump for president and "no one should really do it after seeing the fact he's simply not qualified to be president."
Feingold challenged Johnson to follow the lead of other Republican senators in tough re-election fights, including Arizona Sen. John McCain, in not supporting Trump.
"I think it will be very frightening for the rest of the world if we elect Donald Trump," Feingold said.
Feingold supports Democrat Hillary Clinton, and he's curried favor with the more liberal wing of the party by campaigning with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren this month.
Feingold and Johnson are familiar debate opponents: They squared off three times in 2010, a race Johnson won, ending Feingold's 18-year run in the Senate.
Democrats see Johnson as vulnerable given that he's running for re-election in a presidential election year when Democratic turnout in Wisconsin is strong. A Marquette University Law School poll released this week showed the race to be about even.
In Friday's debate, Johnson attacked Feingold's record in the Senate, where the Democrat supported President Barack Obama's health care law and cast the lone vote against the Patriot Act.
Feingold has campaigned on raising the minimum wage, allowing college students to refinance student loan debt and opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal. He's tried to cast Johnson, who emphasizes his background helping to start and build the plastics manufacturing company Pacur, as out of touch with the concerns of middle-income voters.
   7:10 p.m.
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is sticking with his support of Donald Trump, but he isn't saying his name.
Johnson was asked in Friday's U.S. Senate debate if he was still "100 percent" behind Trump as the Republican nominee. Johnson replied without saying Trump's name. But he says he supports "our Republican nominee" on a number of issues, including securing the border and fighting the Islamic State.
Johnson's Democratic challenger Russ Feingold is issuing a challenge to Johnson to renounce Trump. Feingold says, "This one of those times where you have to be an American first, not a politician running for office."
Trump is campaigning Monday in Wisconsin but Johnson is skipping the event in Green Bay.
   7 p.m.
The debate between Republican Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic former Sen. Russ Feingold is underway.
Feingold and Johnson are answering questions from a panel of journalists in Green Bay. It is the first of two debates between the candidates before the election. The second debate is Tuesday night in Milwaukee.
Johnson beat Feingold six years ago, ending his 18-year Senate career.
Friday's debate is to last one hour.
   9:11 a.m.
Sen. Ron Johnson and former Sen. Russ Feingold are about to face each other in their first debate of the campaign.
Johnson and Feingold were to debate Friday night in Green Bay. The debate is sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and will be broadcast across the state on a number of stations and nationally by C-SPAN.
It is the first of two debates in the race over a four-day period. They are set to debate for the second and final time Tuesday in Milwaukee.
The debate comes as the Marquette University Law School poll show the race to be about even. Feingold and Johnson are familiar debate opponents. They squared off three times in 2010, a race Johnson won ending Feingold's 18-year run in the Senate.