Buck And Bennet In First Debate: He’s The Flip-Flopper!

In their first debate, incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Republican nominee Ken Buck fought over flip-flops, boots and shoes.At a debate hosted by Club 20, an “organization of counties, communities, tribes, businesses, individuals and associations in Western Colorado” on Saturday, Buck accused Bennet of doing one thing while in Washington, then saying something else in Colorado.

“He’s voted for the $862 billion stimulus and he has voted to nationalize health care,” Buck said, according to The Denver Post. “And yet when he comes back here and runs for office he’s said we have $13 trillion in debt and nothing to show for it. It’s immoral to place this debt on our children.

Bennet hit back by saying Buck had changed his tone since the primary, dialing back his more extreme positions.

“Ken doesn’t need to leave the state to say one thing in one place and another thing completely different in another place,” Bennet said, according to the Durango Herald.

According to the Herald, Buck asked Bennet to pull a TV ad that makes the same point, and which has been criticized by The Denver Post for containing “dubious assertions.” Bennet declined, defending the ad, and saying “Words do matter.”

“So everybody’s mistaken but you?” Buck said, drawing cheers and jeers, according to the Post.

The two also tangled over footwear (a topic that has gotten Buck into trouble in the primary). According to ABC, a panelist pointed out that the candidates were similarly dressed, and Buck drew attention to his cowboy boots, as opposed to Bennet’s dress shoes. Bennet “was quick to point out the holes on the soles of his shoes and challenged Buck to show the bottom of his boots.”

The TPM Poll Average for this race shows Buck leading Bennet 46.0%-42.8%.

Meanwhile, the Post called the debate between gubernatorial candidates John Hickenlooper and Dan Maes “tame” and “good-natured.” Hickenlooper, the Democratic nominee, has been mostly silent while the Republican Maes has watched support for his candicacy crumble after his surprising primary win. Tom Tancredo, whose third-party run likely doomed any chance Maes had at winning even before several gaffes started costing him endorsements, was not invited to the debate, and protested outside the Two Rivers Convention Center.

The TPM Poll Average for this race shows Hickenlooper (44.6%) leading Maes (28.1%) and Tancredo (12.7%).