Esch, Terry debate for final time before election

Omaha, NE – The economy, energy policy, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even the new Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge were topics of debate Thursday at the Omaha Press Club.

Second Congressional District candidates Jim Esch and Lee Terry debated those issues before a crowd of nearly 200 people. Terry is seeking his sixth term in the U.S. House. He defeated Jim Esch by a narrow margin two years ago.

Here are some of the candidates' comments from the debate.

On the $700 billion economic bailout plan: Terry says he supported the second form of the bill because the U.S. was facing a real financial crisis. Esch says he didn't favor either bailout bill because they lacked in accountability and transparency.

On the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: Esch says U.S. forces should have remained in Afghanistan and not gone in to Iraq. He says both diplomatic and military options are needed in Afghanistan. Terry says a timetable is already in place, and he feels it was done correctly. He notes that an estimated 8,000 American troops could be home by Christmas.

On illegal immigration: Terry says it's important to secure the borders. He supports a total reform of immigration laws and a guest worker program. Esch says employers should have the tools they need to verify citizenship status. He says once that happens, comprehensive reform can move forward.

You can hear the entire Omaha Press Club debate with Lee Terry and Jim Esch Monday during Noon Forum.