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21st Congressional candidates debate at Albany Law School

With only one rebuttal the entire night, and then a rebuttal to that rebuttal, candidates vying to succeed U.S. Rep. Michael McNulty, D-Green Island, calmly presented their stances on issues of the economy, energy, health care, the war in Iraq and loan forgiveness at a debate at Albany Law School on Monday, Oct. 12.

The Columbus Day debate was held in the Dean Alexander Moot Courtroom and was moderated by 810WGY talk radio dj Al Roney. It began at 6 p.m. and lasted a little over an hour and a half.

But within that time, Roney questioned the candidates on some of the most hot-button issues that are facing the country at the moment, beginning with the economy.

In one question, Roney asked the candidates, if they were currently representing the 21st District in Congress, would they or would they not have voted for the $700 billion Bailout bill.

Democrat Paul Tonko answered first. In it's initial stages, I would have denied that package, he said. Tonko went on to say that he would have voted for the final package that was eventually passed, although he would have done so with "great reservations."

Before declaring whether he would or would not have voted for the bill, Republican Jim Buhrmaster expressed that he thinks the situation on Wall Street was a disaster and "absolutely unacceptable." Buhrmaster said he would not have voted for the bill in its first stage, because he does not think it is a good idea to give one person so much power, but that on the second stage he would have voted for the bill, "because we needed to do something."

Buhrmaster also said he would have voted for the bill in its final stages, "but been very, very angry," because he feels, "we need to hold accountable all the people who got us there."

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