Casey, Smith tangle in first — and only — debate

    The only debate between candidates for one of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seats remained civil, covering government spending, the budget, and health care.

    Some of the most notable excerpts from the hourlong debate spotlight what wasn’t discussed.

    During the Philadelphia meeting, Republican challenger Tom Smith says he would repeal the Affordable Care Act and reduce government spending by reviewing each federal agency, starting with the Department of Energy.

    He says Democratic incumbent Bob Casey is responsible in part for congressional inaction on the federal budget.

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    “How can you sit in the U.S. Senate and your party controls it and you haven’t passed a budget in over three years?” said Smith.

    “That’s not true,” Casey responded.

    “That is true,” Smith insisted. “But we will go on.”

    After the debate, Casey referred to Senate action to allow the government to continue to be funded.

    But it was only a short-term fix, and not a budget bill for the current fiscal year beginning in October.

    Smith, a relative political newcomer, has spent millions of his own money on television ads — which recent polls have shown to have helped the Republican close the gap with Casey.

    WPVI-TV will air the debate Sunday.

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