Lee Anderson still refuses to debate John Barrow in 12th District race

John Barrow and Lee Anderson (WRDW-TV)

John Barrow and Lee Anderson (WRDW-TV)

News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Two candidates are working hard for your vote in November, each with very different ideas of how to get things done in Washington.

The 12th Congressional District race is between Democratic incumbent John Barrow and Republican nominee Lee Anderson.

"We need a conservative congressman to go to Washington and balance the budget. It's time that we get back to the basics," Anderson said.

Barrow would like to continue his moderate approach to law-making, saying, "We need more people in Congress who are ready, willing and able to have a meaningful conversation with folks on both sides of the aisle."

With so many hot button issues, News 12's Laura Warren asked the candidates what they think is the number one problem facing our country.

Anderson said, "The greatest thing we can do is get government out of the way. Mandates and regulations off our businesses' back so they can create jobs."

Barrow said, "Getting the economy back on track. Because if we can get the economy back on track, all the other problems, they won't take care of themselves, but we'll have what we need to address all of our other problems."

Another big issue: the budget crisis.

Anderson said, "I'm the only candidate whose said I'm willing to cut every department except one and that's defense."

Barrow said, "Spending has to go down, because there's no excuse for wasteful spending in today's economy. None whatsoever."

Speaking of cutting the budget, cuts to Medicare have a lot of people concerned.

Anderson said, "I support a plan that will secure Medicare and Social Security for our seniors. Period."

Anderson says he hopes to keep Medicare the same for seniors and restructure the program for future generations.

Barrow said, "I'm committed to preserving Medicare as a program that your benefits are guaranteed, and you'll never outlast your benefits, and they can't take them away."

Barrow says he's committed to finding a way to make the program continue to work for current and future generations.

But, the question on most people's minds: Will the two face off in a debate before the election?

Barrow says it would be foolish not to debate, saying, "... That's the only way in which the voters can understand the major issues between us."

But, Anderson maintains his stance, saying, "It all depends on whether John Barrow decides to go on TV, just like I'm on TV right now telling the truth and say, 'I'm gonna vote for Obama for president,' -- when he says that, we'll consider debating."

Barrow said, "I've already said who I'm voting for, and who I'm not voting for. This is not news."

Anderson assures the voters he isn't afraid to debate Barrow, saying, "I'm not shying away from no one. I'm not hiding from no one, I'm not ducking from no one."

So while the clock is ticking down to Election Day, the debate about debating continues.

Both candidates have been invited to a GPB debate in Atlanta on Sunday. Anderson says he does not plan to attend. Barrow says he will be their regardless of whether Anderson shows up or not.

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