by Mark Curtis, ABC6 Chief Political Reporter
It wasn't a side–by–side debate, but candidates in the Rhode Island U.S. Senate race spoke at Providence Country Day School.
First up, Republican Barry Hinckley on why he would be better on economic policy.
Hinckley said, "I believe that more jobs, more private sector growth and more American dreams fulfilled by the American spirit is the way forward, because that's the life I've led. Remember, I am a job creator and he is a career politician and that's what it's going to come down to."
Then it was Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's turn.
He blamed Republican tax policy for the nation's economic problems.
Whitehouse said, "To in effect, raise taxes on the middle class more, in order to give more and more benefit to the people at the very top. That's been a strategy we've pursued before in the past, under President Bush. It failed; it was wrong."
ABC 6 Reporter Mark Curtis said, "With less than two weeks to go in the campaign, this is crunch time. Both candidates promising to fight it out on the airwaves, on the Internet, with yard signs, or direct mail. Anywhere where voters may be paying attention."
Senator Whitehouse is cautiously optimistic, saying, "I think things are looking terrific. Obviously of you are in a race, you are going to run it all the way through the tape. And we are taking absolutely nothing for granted."
Challenger Barry Hinckley believes he's gaining momentum. He said, "Recent polls have us less than 9 points behind him in early October. So I think we are closing, closing on this race real fast."
Whitehouse is completing his first senate term; it's Hinckley's first try for public office.