The two candidates for the 9th Congressional District -- the longtime Democratic incumbent and the Republican challenger who gained national fame four years ago -- faced off for their first and only debate today.
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) opened with an introduction that included her support for fair trade, opening markets, and Medicare while Samuel Wurzelbacher (R., Springfield Township) started the hour-long debate swinging against his opponent.
Mr. Wurzelbacher accused Miss Kaptur of doing a "great job talking" and spending decades in congress despite high unemployment and other problems facing the nation.
The debate is being carried live by WTVG-TV, Channel 13, in an event co-sponsored by The Blade.
Mr. Wurzelbacher acknowledged being known as "Joe the Plumber" and becoming famous four years ago when he asked Democrat Barack Obama a question. It was later used as a talking point by presidential challenger John McCain, a Republican.
Mr. Wurzelbacher said he did not consider running for the 9th Congressional District two years ago because it would have been a publicity stunt. Since then, Mr. Wurzelbacher said he has talked to people all over the nation.
Miss Kaptur fired back early on in the debate and pointed out that Mr. Wurzelbacher does not live in the district and later claimed he had plans to move even further away from the district.
When asked what she had done for residents of the congressional district the past two years, Miss Kaptur pointed out that she supported President Obama's automobile rescue and that Jeep and General Motors facilities in Toledo had rehired laid off workers.
"The recovery of the automotive industry has been astounding," she said.
The President's health care act, commonly known as Obamacare, was attacked by Mr. Wurzelbacher. He promised to work to repeal the law while Miss Kaptur said she supports it.