(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Republican candidates for U.S. Senate met in a televised debate Wednesday night. Richard Lugar and Richard Mourdock squared off in an event sponsored by the Indiana debate commission.
The candidates were asked a large dose of question on foreign policy issues. It played into Sen. Lugar's expertise and his impression of the outcome.
"Oh, I thought it was a great debate," Lugar said afterward.
But Richard Mourdock felt all he had to do was tie, and that's how he saw it.
"I didn't come into this debate expecting there would be a knockout punch," he said.
There were jabs, however, like Mourdock making reference to Lugar's home in Virginia and his own affection for Indiana.
"It is a place that, if I have the privilege of serving it as your U.S. senator," he said, "I'm not moving from."
Lugar made reference to Mourdock's absenteeism, the subject of one of his ads, when he started a sentence by saying, "Those of us who are now serving each day ... "
The candidates differed on a view of Russia.
"Russia is neither friend nor foe," said Lugar. "It is an important country with whom we have to deal."
But Mourdock responded: "I think they are more foe than friend."
In the only direct attack, Mourdock accused Lugar of making some misguided votes.
"There were two calls to have some benefits from Social Security go to people who were actually in the country illegally," he said. "I would have voted the opposite way on those votes."
Lugar called it unfair but didn't elaborate.
He also tried his best to display some conservative credentials.
"Well, I'm a social conservative," Lugar said. "I believe strongly in marriage and children and family values."
In the end, two men dressed very much alike also appeared to share similar views on most of the major issues. And so the debate likely will be a deciding factor in the May primary only for voters who had doubts about Mourdock's credibility or Lugar's fitness.
There was no clear winner.
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