The gloves came off Thursday night during a debate between Ohio Senate candidates Josh Mandel and Sherrod Brown, as the two called each other liars and fought over their vastly different views on a wide range of the issues.
The race between Mandel, the Republican state treasurer, and incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in one of the most closely watched U.S. Senate races in the country because it could help decide control of the chamber, the Cleveland Plain Dealer
It didn't take long for Brown and Mandel to show just how heated their contest has gotten.
"Senator, you're a liar," Mandel charged, when Brown accused him of doing a bad job as treasury secretary and as a state legislator. "You are lying to the people of the state of Ohio. You're falsely attacking me, and I won't stand for it."
But Brown shot back, noting that Mandel, 35, had been declared by PolitiFact Ohio as the state's "Pants on Fire" leader in July for making false statements.
"Being called a liar by the winner of the Pants on Fire crown is just a pretty remarkable thing for a young man to say, or for a man of any age to say in a political debate," Brown said. "Josh Mandel, as we know, has trouble telling the truth."
The two clashed again over the U.S. auto bailout, which Brown supported because, he said, it helped save jobs in Ohio. Mandel said he would have not supported the bailout because, he said, it resulted in pension cuts at a Ohio company that produces parts for the auto industry.
They also differed over gay marriage. When asked if he would support the repeal of Ohio's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, Mandel said: “I believe in traditional marriage. At the same time, I want you to know, I will do everything I can to represent every single person in the state of Ohio, all 11.5 million people, regardless of their background."
That comment drew a quick response from Brown, who does support repeal. "Why should we believe he supports equal rights for everybody," he said, noting that Mandel's record in the state legislator "doesn't support that."
Mandel portrayed himself throughout the debate as a Washington outsider, noting that the nation's capital is too full of career politicians like Brown.
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