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Mourdock's Debate Dig at Lugar: 'I'll Always Live in Indiana'

By Martin Gould   |  

Only one area of the country has seen house prices increase during the slump of recent years, Indiana Senate hopeful Richard Mourdock said on Wednesday during a debate with his rival – and that’s Washington, D.C.

The reason – because the federal government has grown so much that there has been an increased demand, he claimed in a non-too-subtle dig at his opponent, six-term incumbent Dick Lugar who maintains his primary home in the D.C. suburbs of Virginia.

“I want to roll back government, not just as an academic exercise but to get back to our founding principles,” said Mourdock.

Lugar is facing his first serious challenge in either a primary or a general election since he won his Senate seat in 1976. The primary on May 8 will be one of the closest watched in the Upper Chamber.

Mourdock, 60, has claimed his 20-years-older opponent has been in the Senate for too long and has lost touch with the Hoosier State.

The debate in Indianapolis was marked by its politeness with the two men taking similar positions on many issues issues – including opposition to President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform, support for reforming entitlements and their strong anti-abortion stances . The only hint of acrimony came when Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer claimed that Lugar had voted to give money in the Social Security trust fund to illegal immigrants.

“That’s unfair,” responded Lugar. “I have never voted for Social Security payments to illegals.”

But Mourdock twice alluded to his opponent for living outside the state, saying in his closing statement that he loves Indiana – “it’s a place I am not moving from,” he said. "I have always called Darmstadt, Ind. home.”

During the hour-long debate, televised nationally on C-SPAN, they disagreed on ethanol subsidies with Mourdock saying he was against subsidies generally, and Lugar – who admitted he grows corn on his farm in Indiana – saying they are good for Hoosiers.

The challenger said one of the reasons that gas prices has gone up is because ethanol is now more expensive per gallon than oil, and its inclusion has caused prices to increase by 4-5 cents a gallon. But Lugar hit back, supporting the use of ethanol. “It’s a Hoosier product, which means higher values for corn and higher land values for the state,” he said.

Mourdock also attacked Lugar, the ranking member and past chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, for failing to make sure American money sent to Russia to help with disarmament from being funneled off to help the Syrian and Iranian governments, a charge Lugar denied.

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