Bachmann, Graves face off in 1st debate over 6th District - FOX 35 News Orlando

Bachmann, Graves face off in 1st debate over 6th District

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ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KMSP) -

Just one week before the election, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and challenger Jim Graves finally faced off in their first debate.

On Tuesday, Graves' supporters seemed to pack more volume -- and more venom -- on the sidewalks of downtown St. Cloud.

"[Bachmann] is pretty much out for herself," said Kent Nelson. "That's pretty obvious."

Bachmann was not without support, however. She got a warm welcome from those backing her re-election bid, but there was a notable difference in the audible enthusiasm between the two campaigns.

Graves spent the hour on the attack, accusing Bachmann of opposing ideas without offering her own -- especially on how to reform Medicare and Social Security.

"You just heard some political speak there, didn't you? Michele doesn't say what she's for. She says what she's against," he said.

Bachmann countered by saying she has consistently pushed for reforms.

"I've very much been a part of the solution, and it's insulting to say that these are political speech, because that's one thing I do not do is political speech," she said.

Just as she has done in her ads, Bachmann also criticized Graves as a supporter of Obamacare who would raise taxes if elected.

"With Jim Graves, add about 50 percent to your tax bill," she said. "That's about what you'll be looking at. I think we're taxed enough already. I don't want to increase taxes."

Graves, a hotel mogul, contradicted those claims. He did say that he supports parts of the Affordable Care Act, but he dismissed the notion that he's a big spender and accused Bachmann of being misleading with her ad campaign.

"I'm not a big spender," he said. "You've seen a lot of ads about 'big-spending Jim.' A) I wasn't in Congress. I've never been in Congress, so I didn't pass any of those bills."

Graves argued that erasing the deficit will require both tax increases and spending cuts, but Bachmann supporters said they were not swayed.

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