Franken, McFadden raise voices, interrupt one another during Senate debate


Sen. Al Franken and Republican challenger Mike McFadden sparred during the second of three head-to-head debates Sunday morning.

The candidates were heated during the hour-long WCCO-TV debate as they raised their voices and interrupted each other and the moderators in order to get their point across before the commercial breaks, this was especially evident when discussing the Affordable Care Act.

Many watching the debate tweeted it was hard to hear either candidate because they continued to talk over one another, while others applauded the moderators for pushing the candidates to actually answer the questions.

The debate began with questions on Ebola and the Islamic State (ISIS), two issues McFadden has routinely criticized the incumbent Democrat on.

McFadden said he backs a temporary travel ban to help stop the spread of Ebola, saying the United States isn't prepared to fight the virus and has criticized Franken and President Barack Obama for how the country has handled the virus.

Franken, who has urged the CDC to add enhanced airport screenings to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, avoided answering if he opposes a travel ban, but said it would be insufficient. He reitereated that he's been in touch with Gov. Mark Dayton and Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Edward Ehlinger about the best options to keep Minnesotans safe.

Minnesota is home to one of the largest Liberian communities outside of West Africa.

Click here for a transcript of the candidates' answer to the Ebola question.

McFadden blasted Franken for not doing more to stop terrorist recruiting in Minnesota – extremist groups like ISIS and al-Shabab have recruited dozens of fighters from Minnesota. In the recent weeks, several men with Minnesota ties have died fighting for ISIS, which led the FBI to launch a pilot program in the Twin Cities to combat terror recruiting in the U.S. Boston and Los Angeles are also part of the program.

Franken said he has been on top of terrorist recruiting for years, noting he supported President Obama's decision to launch airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.

Click here for a transcript of the ISIS question.

Some people on Twitter noted the questions during the debate propelled "fear mongering" instead of touching on topics that are more important to voters.

The third and final debate is set for Nov. 2, two days before the election.

Franken leads in polls

A recent Star Tribune Minnesota Poll found Franken's advantage over McFadden has slipped slightly, but the Democrat still leads his challenger, 48 percent to 39 percent. Last month's poll had Franken leading by 13 percentage points. The Star Tribune also recently endorsed Franken.

A KSTP/SurveyUSA Poll found that Franken leads McFadden 53 percent to 38 percent. Previously, the poll showed Franken with an 18-point lead over McFadden.

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