Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her Republican challenger, Massachusetts state Rep. Geoff Diehl, clashed on everything from tax cuts to immigration to Warren's decision to release a DNA test during their first debate Friday.
The meeting was combative at times, with the candidates challenging each other and sometimes talking over one another.
Warren is known for being an excellent debater and she had her facts and figures at the ready for this first debate with Diehl, but he held his own, lobbing some effective bombs including, “I don’t care Senator Warren about what your Native American heritage is or isn’t. I think it’s about integrity.”
Within minutes Republican Diehl and Democrat Warren touched on the two hot button issues facing their respective candidacies.
Diehl criticized Warren for listing herself as Native American in a national directory: “Taking a minority higher position away from somebody else.”
Warren attacked Diehl’s support of President Trump: “My opponent Mr. Diehl has said that if he’s elected, he will have Donald Trump’s back 100-percent of the time. Not me.”
Diehl shot back: “I am not going to be voting 100-percent of the time, as you erroneously claim, with the President.”
But Diehl wasn’t afraid to say how he does support Trump, for example, on the economy: “What’s happening right now is remarkable. We are seeing a tax reform bill that’s giving Massachusetts on believable unemployment.”
Warren’s response: “It works for billionaires and and giant corporations who got a one and a trillion and a half dollars in tax cuts.”
Diehl had his own line of attack: “You are running for president. Everybody knows now at this point. It’s not a secret at all. You’ve got stuff for as you’ve moved to New Hampshire to go work up there for the Democratic Party. You’ve moved stoppers to all the swing states. And again, you’ve been traveling so extensively around the country.”
One of the more heated moments came on the topic of ballot Question 3. Diehl is voting to repeal the 2016 transgender rights bill.
Diehl said, “This law provides a loophole that someone who is a sexual predator could go into a space, a locker room and claim that day they identify in a different way and then disrobe in front of somebody of the opposite sex.”
And from Warren: “This is the kind of ugly, ugly smear that tries to say there’s a vulnerable group, let’s keep them separate and let’s make up stories about the kinds of threats they pose.”
During the debate, Warren called out Diehl for attending a rally in April organized by “Act for America“ – a group that has been described as anti-Muslim.
After the debate Diehl demand an apology saying he wasn’t at that rally. The Warren Campaign claims there are photos to prove he was.
There are two more scheduled debates before Election Day.