Stabenow focuses on agriculture, bipartisanship

By John Flesher

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Oct. 4 2012 2:05 p.m. MDT

"I'm really talking about what I've accomplished and who I'm fighting for," she said.

VanWoerkom said Stabenow's claim of bipartisanship is contradicted by her record of siding with fellow Democrats and President Barack Obama on more than 90 percent of her votes.

Stabenow and Hoekstra also can't agree on debates. While both candidates say they're eager for the discussions, they remain at odds about the number and venues.

Stabenow wants two debates at the Detroit Economic Club and Grand Valley State University that would be carried on public television — the arrangement for all Michigan's Senate races since 1996.

"To continue that tradition seems very reasonable," spokesman Cullen Schwarz said Thursday.

Hoekstra wants at least three debates that would air on major commercial networks, which VanWoerkom said would reach broader audiences.

Stabenow is "proposing the way in which the least amount of people would see the candidates and hear their solution," he said.

Debates could provide a forum for a discussion of foreign policy, which has been overshadowed in the campaign. Hoekstra contends his experience on the intelligence panel gives him an edge. After a trip to Israel last week, he accused Stabenow of supporting the Obama administration in failing to take a hard line against Islamic extremism.

Stabenow said Wednesday that the administration is a firm supporter of Israel and is imposing tough sanctions on Iran to blunt its nuclear ambitions. She again called for bipartisanship.

"I find it very unfortunate that (Hoekstra) has chosen to make these issues political," she said. "We have had loss of life in Libya, we have men and women putting their lives on the line every day, we have very difficult negotiations going on. I think politics should stop at the edge of our country and when it comes to what's happening around the world, we should be speaking as Americans."

VanWoerkom said Hoekstra "will not stand silent like Debbie Stabenow as he sees the Middle East deteriorate, our allies become isolated, U.S. standing in the world diminish and American economic policy become more uncertain because of a failed foreign policy."

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