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Portman, Strickland Face Off In First Senate Debate

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Senator Rob Portman (left) and Ted Strickland (right) at first of three debates.

The first of three debates between the two major party candidates for US Senate got heated very quickly, as Democratic challenger Ted Strickland, who trails Republican Sen. Rob Portman by double digits, went on the attack. 

The first question in the debate on WMFJ in Youngstown was about trade, and Portman used his answer as an opportunity to refute the blasts Strickland launched against him in his opening argument, saying the former governor doesn’t want to talk about his record.

“I don’t blame him," Portman said. "If I had his record, I wouldn’t want to talk about it either. 350,000 jobs lost when he was governor. Forty-eighth in the country in job creation.”

Strickland immediately fired back, saying Portman has had many chances to make a difference for Ohioans, especially the middle class.

“He always sided with the rich and the powerful to the detriment of the state of Ohio. That’s his record.”

The candidates sparred over funding for anti-drug problems, health insurance, guns and the scandals involving their presidential candidates.

There are two more Senate debates – Monday evening at 7p.m. in Columbus, and Thursday at 7p.m. from Cleveland.