OVERLAND PARK, Kansas - Three-term Republican Sen. Pat Roberts is trying to save his job by arguing that electing his independent opponent, Greg Orman, would essentially put another liberal Democrat in the Senate.
"The eyes of the nation are on Kansas," Roberts said, according to the Washington Post. "The rest of the country is counting on us to get it right this election. It will be up to us, to Kansas, to determine who will be in the majority."
But Orman said he has donated to both Democrats, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Republicans, such as former Sen. Scott Brown. He said he supported Brown in 2010 in the hopes it would stop the Affordable Care Act from passing Congress.
He said during the debate he believes it would be unwise for lawmakers to simply repeal the law because the president would veto it, and because that wouldn't fix the problems in the system.
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"The reason we have a health care affordability crisis is because the incentives are all wrong. We pay for quantity and not for quality. And if we realign the incentives in health care I think we can get affordable health care that's also very high quality," Orman said, according to Wichita, Kansas, CBS affiliateKWCH.
Roberts, like most Republicans, would repeal it outright.
"Just this month people are getting more increases in premiums more people losing insurance, the doctor- patient relationship is threatened... We have rationing boards in the waiting," he said. "Taxes under Obamacare are going to be 1 trillion dollars."
Orman worked to bolster his image as a moderate by suggesting policies during the debate that both parties have championed in the past. He again refused to say whether he would vote with Democrats or Republicans if elected.
"I believe Obama and [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid are part of the problem," Orman said. Addressing Roberts, he added, "But senator, I believe you are part of the problem too."
Roberts suggested that Orman is not being forthcoming about his views, saying that trying to get him to take a position is "is like trying to nail Jell-o to the wall."
Although Kansas is normally a reliably Republican state, Roberts has lost some favor at home. That and the decision by Democrat Chad Taylor to exit the race has created an opening for Orman, a local businessman.
The latest CBS News/New York Times/YouGov poll has the two candidates tied, but other recent polls put Orman ahead by anywhere from five to 10 percentage points.