ORLANDO, Fla. - Democrat Alan Grayson and Republican Todd Long went head-to-head in a fiery debate full of personal attacks in the race for the newly drawn U.S. House District 9 seat on Monday.
Local 6 was there as Grayson and Long started debating before the debate even started at the Tiger Bay Club of Orlando.
"I've go a few questions for Mr. Grayson before we start," said Long in his opening remarks. "You decided to go there (to Congress) and call people names, you called a woman who testified a 'K Street Whore'."
[WATCH: RAW DEBATE VIDEO]
"You know, this is nonsense," said Grayson as he interrupted his challenger.
"Hey, Mr. Grayson," quipped Long.
"Don't shout at me, Mr. Long," said Grayson.
And that exchange set the tone for what would be a passionate debate between Long and Grayson over major challenges facing the next Congress, including unrest in the Middle east.
"We should cut off aid to countries where the police force cannot protect our people. It's that simple," said Grayson.
"I think obviously we shouldn't be giving foreign aid to them in those countries, but also for us to be caught with our pants down on 9-11 and not protect our embassy is just outrageous," said Long.
The candidates were then asked if they would authorize the President to go to war with Iran.
"We've done everything we can. We've talked, we've talked, we've had sanctions, nothing's working," said Long. "So if the President feels it's time to get something done and actually take out their nuclear weapons, I'll be all for it."
Grayson replied, "A war with Iran can still be avoided. I would do everything that I could to try to get to that point where we did avoid it. I don't think that Iran right now poses a threat to the United States and therefore I would not vote for that right now."
The men also traded barbs over domestic policy and what will likely be painful budget decisions ahead.
"He wants to raise the retirement age to 70 or 72," said Grayson. "That's off the table for me. He wants to freeze medicare. That's off the table for me too."
"If you can do math you know all our entitlements are going bankrupt and I want to preserve them," responded Long.
As Long continued, Grayson tried to interrupt him.
"Shut up," said Long.
"Oh my goodness, Mr. moderator, are we going to accept this?" asked Grayson.
The men debated over major challenges facing the next congress, including unrest in the Middle East, domestic policy and budget decisions in the years ahead.
They also differed on the energy policy, with Long pushing for oil drilling along beaches and national parks. Grayson called Long's drilling wishes "crackpot notions."
Both men did agree on ending the war in Afghanistan to help the budget decision and cutting on fraud.
District 9 covers Osceola, Southeast Orange and Northeast Polk counties. With the House of Representatives expected to be nearly evenly split after the election, whoever is elected could tip the balance of power.
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