CNN—During Senator Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker met to discuss the already controversial Georgia Senate primary. All the focus was on how a personal argument against Walker would shake up the first (and perhaps the only) debate of the campaign. Claims that Walker paid a woman for his abortion and recommended a second operation to the same woman two years later were just a loophole in a one-hour contest centered on Warnock’s bond. Briefly explain to President Joe Biden the major differences between the two candidates for abortion and the use of a walker that appears to be a sheriff’s insignia. Walker continued to deny the allegations against him and called it “a lie,” and Warnock did not participate in the debate during the campaign run, instead questioning the truth’s relationship with his Republican counterpart. Warnock said, “We’re going to see it again and again that the opponent has a problem with the truth, as we’ve already seen.” “And just because he says something doesn’t mean it’s true.” For Walker, the debate was about promoting his candidate as much as tying up early and often called Biden and Warnock. His efforts to reassure the voters sitting on the fence at the deadline that he was ready to serve also included jabs against Warnock and Biden. “If you’re worried about voting for me as a non-politician, I want you to think about the damage that politicians like Joe Biden and Rafael Warnock have done to this country,” Walker said. Here are five lessons from Friday’s discussion: Biden wasn’t on stage Friday night, but Walker tried to convince viewers that the Democrat president was ostensibly with a Democrat opponent. From the start of the event, Walker repeatedly called on Biden, hoping to tie the Democrat opponent to the president’s low approval ratings. “This race is not about me. It’s about what Raphael Warnock and Joe Biden have done for you and your family.” Walker said at the top of the discussion. In the 2020 presidential election, he said, “Did President Biden win? President Biden wins and senator. Warnock won. That is why I decided to run for office.” Then he summed up his points. He said, “I’m running because he and Joe Biden are the same.” Warnock did not distance himself from Biden, occasionally touting bills he passed with the help of the president. But in a question about foreign policy, he had the opportunity to mention a specific point in time against the Biden administration. Warnock said, “We are delighted to stand up against Putin’s aggression. This is why I objected when the Biden administration proposed that the Savannah Combat Readiness Training Center should be closed.” “I told the president it was wrong to do it at the exact wrong time. … We kept the training center open.” Walker went back to his message in his reply. “He did not stand up. He lay there every time it came.” Slightly angry, Warnock said, “There’s definitely a point he’s been trying to recreate over and over again.” The focus of the debate is that Walker – and perhaps less predictably Warnock – settles charges that the Republican nominee paid for a woman’s abortion, and two years later the same woman in a second time procedure. Walker did what he did repeatedly when his claims shook up the already controversial Senate primary. Mark the claim as a lie. “As I said, it’s a lie,” Walker said to the moderator’s question. “I wrote it in a book. One thing about my life, I was very transparent. Unlike the senator, there is something hidden,” he said. Walker added: “I said it was a lie and I will not back down. And we have Sen. Warnock, people who can do anything and say anything for this place. But I will not back down.” CNN has not independently confirmed the allegations against Walker. Warnock did not address these claims as he had done before, choosing to let Walker fight without pushing himself. Instead, the senator took a broader approach that focused on Walker’s “truth issues” and less focused on specific arguments. Candidates also clashed more generally over abortion rights, arguing that, contrary to his past statements, Walker does not support federal bans, he pointed to the state’s restrictive “heartbeat” laws. The law bans abortions as soon as premature heart activity is detected, which can be as early as six weeks before many women find out they are pregnant. “We have abortions and I am a Christian. I believe in life. Georgia is a state that respects lives,” Walker said. Georgia law makes exceptions for cases of rape or incest, and until a timely police report is made, and in some cases, the health of the pregnant woman is at risk. Supreme Court Rov. Wade, state law allowed abortions up to 20 weeks. Warnock, a supporter of abortion rights, reiterated his claims he made on his way. … I trust women more than politicians.” Walker counterattacked, evoking Warnock’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality. “He told me that black lives matter. If black lives matter, why not protect those babies? And instead of aborting them, why not baptize them?” said Walker. Warnock did not directly respond to Walker’s taunts, as he did throughout the discussion. Instead, he reiterated his position. “There are enough politicians in the patient wards and I have no intention of joining them,” the senator said. Georgia is one of 12 states not expanding Medicaid and currently has about 1.5 million uninsured residents. When asked by the moderators if the federal government should intervene to make sure everyone has access to health care, Walker began a confused unanswered question. “Well, now people have health insurance. It depends on what kind of coverage you want. Because if you have a good job, you can get health care,” he said. “But for everyone else, getting health care is the type of health care you will get. And I think that’s the problem.” Walker said Warnock wants people to “rely on the government” and “get away from government health care and get the health care he’s getting.” Note: Warnock is a US senator and has government health insurance. Walker also reacted embarrassedly to Warnock’s attacks against federal legislation that caps the price of insulin for diabetics. “I think it’s important to cut down on insulin, but at the same time you have to eat the right diet,” Walker said. “Insulin is of no use if you don’t eat right. So we need to lower food prices and lower gas prices so they can get insulin.” Warnock actually responded by speaking to viewers in need of the drug, accusing Walker of having trouble accessing the drug. Warnock was asked how he would pay for his promises to close the Medicaid gap. “This is not a matter of theory,” he replied, recalling the story of a nurse in the trauma ward who got sick and lost coverage and, as he said, died “from lack of health care.” “Georgia needs to expand Medicaid,” Warnock continued. “If you don’t scale, it costs more. What we are doing now is subsidizing health care in other states.” – Indicates the state’s refusal to accept federal funds that residents are already paying for. The debate over Warnock’s support for police, in which a senator pointed out his support for a bill to support small departments, derailed briefly when Walker pulled out what appeared to be a police badge. The moderator quickly admonished Walker, reminding him that he could not use props. “There are props,” said the surprised moderator. “Not allowed, sir.” Not long ago, Warnock said in response to Walker’s allegations that Walker “calls (police) names” and “demotivates” his opponent, saying that “there is a problem with the truth.” Warnock then attacked Walker with a callback to a more than 20-year-old police report in which Republicans discussed exchanging guns with police and false allegations that Walker had previously worked for law enforcement. “The one thing I didn’t do was never pretend to be a cop, never threaten a shootout with a cop,” he said. Warnock also argued that his own support for a thorough investigation of the police did not undermine his own support for law enforcement. “You can support police officers through the COPS program through investment programs that can protect police the way I did, and at the same time hold officers accountable like any profession,” he said.
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