Hanabusa gets aggressive in Hawaii Senate debate

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) got aggressive during a Monday night debate with Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), taking shots at his appointment to the Senate and questioning his competence in office.

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Hanabusa, looking to make up ground as Schatz has led most public polling of the race, said Schatz had "convinced" Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) to appoint him to the Senate over Hanabusa. Former Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) had asked that Hanabusa replace him as his dying wish.

"That's an amazing feat," Hanabusa said, responding to a question about what she admired about Schatz. "One vote created somebody as the United States senator for the state of Hawaii. That's something you got to admire."

Schatz took fewer shots — but went after Hanabusa on Social Security, a major theme of his campaign. After Hanabusa disputed his characterization of her vote for the Simpson-Bowles plan, he said she "didn't answer the question because you took a bad vote."

Schatz has led in the polls and has much more money for the mid-August primary. With little daylight separating the two on policy issues, Hanabusa will have to find ways to shake up the race in the closing month of the campaign.

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