CHICAGO - Wednesday night, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and GOP challenger state Senator Jim Oberweis clarified their differences in a debate on ABC 7. While both candidates extolled a "bi-partisan" approach to passing legislation in Congress, they clearly differed as to their views of the Tea Party. Durbin attacked Oberweis' support from Tea Party advocates, and pointed to the Tea Party as one reason funding has been cut and the ebola vaccine hasn't been developed.
Oberweis was put on the defense concerning his wife's home in Florida and his past views on immigration, but Durbin's focused vehemently on the "extreme positions" of the Tea Party, saying the Tea Party has "wrecked" Capitol Hill. Durbin said the Republican Party needs to cut ties with the Tea Party mentality.
During the lively debate over the "assault weapon" ban, Durbin quipped, "If you need an AK-47 to shoot a deer or a duck, you should stick to fishing." Oberweis said he would support an assault weapons ban if it could be proven that such a ban would reduce violence. "There is no such evidence," Oberweis said.
Oberweis said that despite his vote against same sex marriage in the Illinois Senate, he now accepts court rulings and would support a federal law legalizing same sex marriage.
The ABC 7 debate is recorded in four parts. The Tea Party discussion is in Part 2 below: