A Decision On The Final Weekend Of Early Voting, And Senate Candidates In Raucous Debate

Voters in Ohio finally have an answer to the lingering question of whether there would be early voting on the final three days before Election Day. The campaigns were in Ohio again this week – President Obama continuing his college campus tour, this time going to Ohio University in Athens on Wednesday. Mitt Romney wasn’t in Ohio this week, having spent nearly all of the previous week here. But his running mate Paul Ryan was all over the state.

The money in Ohio’s US Senate race continues to climb into the stratosphere – it’s considered the third most expensive race for the US Senate in the country right now. This week Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown and Republican treasurer Josh Mandel met for the first two of their three debates. The first of the three matchups was Monday before 1,300 people at the City Club of Cleveland – the only debate for these candidates before a live public audience. The event was moved to a ballroom in the Renaissance hotel in downtown Cleveland to accommodate the sell-out crowd. I moderated that debate, which featured questions from a panel of journalists and from the audience. The candidates were asked about taxes and tax pledges, free trade deals, the automakers' bailout and the stimulus package. The audience made their opinions known during a question to Mandel about campaign workers who were hired in the treasurer's office and a question to Brown about government spending.
The candidates were also asked about the upcoming so-called fiscal cliff and about the Affordable Care Act. Members of the audience aked about policies on coal and term limits, and the always-controversial issue of abortion also came up. The candidates met for a second debate on Thursday in Columbus, and have a final meeting next Thursday, October 25, in Cincinnati.

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