Tags: midterms | Senate race | Iowa | Ebola | birth control | ISIS

Ernst, Braley Clash on Ebola, ISIS in Iowa Senate Debate

Ernst, Braley Clash on Ebola, ISIS in Iowa Senate Debate
State Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, left, and U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley D-Iowa. (David Greedy/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 17 October 2014 08:18 AM

In the final debate in the race for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin — one of the most closely watched in 2014’s midterm elections —  Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst sparred on the hot button issues of the day: Ebola, the Islamic State (ISIS) and abortion.

There were no "gotcha" moments during the hourlong debate, which took place around a table, according to Politico, but neither candidate had a "breakout" night, either. Braley, a congressman from northeast Iowa, carries the support of women, while men prefer Ernst, the state senator from southwest Iowa, Politico said.

"Braley looked annoyed and seemed like he was on the verge of losing his temper at points," Politico reports. "Ernst spoke slowly and cautiously, looking straight ahead into the camera instead of responding directly to the moderator. She didn’t make eye contact with Braley as he addressed her."

Braley and President Barack Obama have failed in both preparation and response to the Ebola outbreak, Ernst charged, saying their approach has been "reactive rather than proactive," according to The Hill.

Travel bans, intensified screening and increased aid to affected African countries are needed, according to Ernst.

Braley took aim at Ernst for backing the "radical plan to shut down the federal government" last year, which he said impacted the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes for Health.

"You can't say you support those things when the policies you're promoting would have made it more difficult for us to address this problem," he charged.

The candidates’ opposing views on the Islamic State played front and center.

Braley argued that the United States "can’t continue to be the world’s police force," while Ernst strongly called for increased intervention, noting that even former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta "advised that we keep troops on the ground."

"There is overwhelming support coming from the American people," she said. "This is another issue that our president and Congressman Braley have been reactive, rather than proactive.

"The congressman twice voted to defund our men and women as they were serving in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan," she added. Braley was elected in 2006 after campaigning on a platform of withdrawing from Iraq.

Braley ripped into Ernst over her support of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, which he noted would present an additional roadblock to women’s ability to get contraception. Ernst fired back.

"I have said over and over again that I do support a women’s right to accessible, reliable and safe contraception," she said. "To be lectured on these issues of contraception is laughable.

"This is a ploy to scare women, and we shouldn’t be doing that," she said.

According to The Associated Press, the Iowa Senate race is the nation’s tightest and the candidates are within a margin-of-error of one another.

Republicans need to pick up six seats to reclaim the Senate majority.

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In the final debate in the close race for Iowa's open U.S. Senate seat, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst sparred on the hot-button issues of the day: Ebola, the Islamic State and abortion
midterms, Senate race, Iowa, Ebola, birth control, ISIS
Friday, 17 October 2014 08:18 AM
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