Rand Paul, the Republican candidate for senator from Kentucky, said yesterday that the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare may need to be raised for future recipients.
But Paul, speaking during the first televised debate of the general election season with Democratic opponent Jack Conway, said he doesn’t want to change those benefits for older people already receiving them. The debate in Louisville, Ky., was aired on “Fox News Sunday.’’
“But we do have to admit that we have the baby boom generation getting ready to retire, and we’re going to double the amount of retirees,’’ Paul said. “And to put our head in the sand and just say we’re just going to keep borrowing more money is not going to work. There will have to be changes for the younger generation.’’
Major issues of the race thus far have been spending, taxes, and the size of government.
Paul is a favorite of the Tea Party movement with his positions for smaller government and a balanced budget. Conway, the state’s attorney general, has also appealed to conservatives, describing himself as fiscally responsible and understanding of why voters are frustrated about rising federal spending.
Paul and Republican leaders have tried to paint Conway as a clone of the Obama administration.
Conway said he would have supported some of President Obama’s initiatives, including the health care overhaul. He said he would have voted against a $700 billion bailout program for troubled financial institutions that was started under President George W. Bush, a Republican.
“There was not enough accountability in them,’’ he said. “We had people getting bonuses after getting the bailouts.’’
The pair clashed over the health care legislation, which Paul has ardently opposed. “I’d like to fix health care,’’ Conway said. “He’d like to repeal it.’’
Conway said hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians will get health coverage for the first time thanks to the landmark overhaul, and he personalized the issue through a friend’s struggle to get health coverage.
Both candidates hoped to score points with the crucial voting bloc during Saturday’s face-off at California State University Fresno, the first to air statewide on Spanish-language television. Whitman acknowledged early on that she cannot win the governor’s race without Latino votes.
Whitman had planned to use the debate to move on from a controversy that dominated headlines last week after it was revealed she had an illegal immigrant housekeeper for nine years.
The billionaire former
But with so much attention on issues related to immigration policy, Whitman was forced to explain her conservative positions while Brown had many opportunities to bring up the housekeeper.
When the debate moderator asked Whitman about her treatment of the worker, she accused Brown’s campaign of orchestrating the controversy and sacrificing the maid “on the altar of your political ambitions.’’