Duckworth, Krishnamoorthi debate their differences, or lack thereof

March 9, 2012

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Democrats running for Congress in Chicago's northwest suburbs found very little to disagree about during a debate Wednesday at WTTW public television.

MORE ON THIS RACE: Discussion on Thursday's Afternoon Shift with Steve Edwards

WATCH THE DEBATE: Posted at WTTW's Chicago Tonight

Voters in Illinois' 8th Congressional District Democratic primary had better not be counting on policy differences to help make up their minds. Take, for instance, Iran. Are sanctions working?

"I think they are working," candidate Raja Krishnamoorthi said.

"I think the sanctions have worked significantly," Tammy Duckworth said in her reply.

And what about other options for Iran?

"I do agree with the president that all options should be on the table," Duckworth said, agreeing not just with Mr. Obama, but also Krishnamoorthi.

"Obviously all options are on the table," Krishnamoorthi said.

Both said the big difference in the race is experience. Duckworth is a former government official and injured Iraq war veteran. Kroshnamoorthi is a former government official who now runs a small business.

The only other rift at the debate was about their differing (or not really differering, depending on who's talking) economic plans.

Krishnamoorthi didn't complain about anything in Duckworth's proposal. He just said it's too short.

"The question before voters here is: do you want substance or do you want soundbites?" he said.

By our count, Krishnamoorthi's "Renewing Prosperity" plan has about 6,800 words, not counting the title page or table of contents. Duckworth's "Getting American Back to Work" plan has roughly 1,400.

"I think that [criticism] was silly," Duckworth told reporters after the debate.

Duckworth said the plans are essentially the same, but her experience "at the state level, at the federal level is going to be the one where I can actually execute the items in the plan."

Both proposals talk of the debt, taxes, infrastructure and education spending. Krishnamoorthi's goes broader, touching on the housing crisis and Social Security.

The winner of the March 20th primary faces freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh in November. Walsh is running unopposed in the Republican primary.