Watch U.S. Senate Democratic Candidates Debate Part I
Watch U.S. Senate Democratic Candidates Debate Part II
Watch U.S. Senate Democratic Candidates Debate Part III
Watch U.S. Senate Democratic Candidates Debate Part IV
Watch U.S. Senate Democratic Candidates Debate Part V
Watch U.S. Senate Democratic Candidates Debate Part VI
Three of the five candidates were involved in a nasty, sometimes confusing political fight over each other's past job performances and campaign styles. The sniping dominated the one-hour session from which one candidate who was not involved in the disagreements emerged as the only one who stayed on message.
Attorney Jacob Meister began with an unexplained attack on former Chicago inspector general David Hoffman for allegedly trying to keep Meister out of the debate. The stunned Hoffman ignored Meister and launched his salvos at frontrunner Alexi Giannoulias for the Illinois treasurer's alleged mishandling of the Bright Start college savings fund.
"The money was partially invested in risky mortgage-backed securities that lost...and other families millions of dollars," said Hoffman.
"David, I'm glad you bring up Bright Start. I'm glad we've taken Bright Star savings program from one of the worst in the country to one of the top five in the United States," said Giannoulias.
Former Urban League president Cheryle Jackson stayed above the fray.
"I am the only one that has been focused on people over politics," said Jackson.
The fifth candidate, physician Robert Marshall, called himself the conservative Democrat.
"We must balance the budget. I am for a balanced budget amendment," said Dr. Marhsall.
When the one hour debate ended, the fight among Meister explained his dislike for Hoffman.
"He's running on a platform of integrity. I have seen nothing of the sort," said Meister.
Hoffman took one more shot at Giannoulias.
"We saw a smooth politician who simply doesn't tell the truth," said Hoffman.
"Mr. Hoffman's in third place and he's dropping name recognition. Almost every single thing he says is an attack," said Giannoulias.
No one attacked Ms. Jackson who repeated her opposition to the expanded war in Afghanistan and the protection of women's reproductive rights in healthcare reform.
"Tonight I think I proved that I'm the only candidate that is focused on people over politics," said Jackson.
The fact that Jackson worked as the press secretary for Rod Blagojevich during his first term came up during a question but her opponents never attacked her for it during the debate. Hoffman, Giannoulias and Meister were too involved with each other.