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Heller, Berkley keep slugging during final Senate debate

Reported by: Amber Dixon
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Updated: 10/16/2012 9:40 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Within seconds, the candidates attacked.

“I don't know another member of Congress that's capitalizing on probably the biggest misery of individuals here in the state of Nevada, when they lose their own homes,” said incumbent and Republican U.S. Sen. Dean Heller.

In the third and final debate between Heller and Democratic U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, Heller said Berkley made money off misfortune when buying foreclosed homes and selling them for a profit.

“Who is she hurting by doing this?” asked debate moderator and News 3’s “Ralston Reports” host Jon Ralston. “You’re upset with her for being wealthy?”

“I'm just telling you, I wouldn't do what she is doing,” Heller replied.

“I think we should be encouraging people to purchase these homes, fix them up,” Berkley said.

“You did this to make money,” said Ralston to Berkley.

“That's exactly what we did,” said Berkley.

“You did this to make money,” said Ralston. “You didn't do this to help people.”

Helping people is all Berkley said she wanted to do when working to save a kidney transplant program, despite its possible benefit to her husband, a doctor at the center.

“My one and only concern was for the health and well-being of the patients and the people,” said Berkley.

After Ralston repeatedly asked Berkley if she contacted the House Ethics Committee before advocating on behalf of the kidney transplant program, Berkley said she could not respond.

“They asked me to please keep this confidential,” said Berkley in reference to those investigating her actions.

Keeping quiet on the possible abuse of power, Berkley was vocal on stopping Medicare abuse to save the system.

“A study just came out that said that there's $75 billion in waste fraud and abuse in the Medicare system,” Berkley said. “You get to that waste, fraud and abuse, and you put the $75 billion back into patient care.”

“If we do nothing, it goes bankrupt in 10 years,” said Heller about Medicare.

Heller voted for Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's budget plan, allowing seniors to pick between a check from the government or a reformed version of Medicare.

“I'm not saying Paul Ryan's plan is the best plan,” Heller said. “What I want to do is have the discussion.”

“Did you vote to have a discussion or to pass Paul Ryan's budget?” Ralston asked.

“Absolutely, and I have talked about having the discussion,” Heller said.

More discussion with the candidates will continue Tuesday night in part two of the debate, airing at 10:30 p.m. on News 3. Topics will include immigration and Israel.
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