Sen. Michael Bennet and Ken Buck endured one of the hottest seats in politics Sunday morning in a debate on NBCs Meet the Press.
Host David Gregory peppered Republican Buck with questions about his opinion on homosexuality and his explanations for why he refused to prosecute a date-rape case as Weld County district attorney.
Gregory grilled Bennet, the Democratic incumbent, about his alliance with President Barack Obama and the effectiveness of the stimulus bill.
Buck said he believes people become gay by choice and mostly not by birth.
I think birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you have a choice, Buck said.
Buck repeated his statement that he did not take a Greeley date-rape case to trial because a jury could have seen it as a case of buyers remorse.
The unnamed victim has been critical of Buck during the campaign because he refused to prosecute her charge that an ex-boyfriend raped her in 2005.
Buck said three of his deputies reviewed the case, along with the former Boulder County district attorney, and they all concluded it would be impossible to prove in court.
Bennet has criticized Buck for telling The Tribune of Greeley that a jury could see the prosecution as a case of buyers remorse. Buck repeated the phrasing Sunday as a possible reason that a jury would decline to convict the defendant.
One of the reasons was the fact that she had regretted this relationship, that she had buyers remorse as a result of this relationship she had with the young man, Buck said.
Gregory challenged Bennet about why he has backed Obama on big votes such as the stimulus bill yet repeatedly says the country has $13 trillion in debt and nothing to show for it.
Bennet did not back away from the phrase Sunday.
We have not even had the decency to maintain the assets that our parents and grandparents built for us our roads, our bridges, our wastewater systems, our sewer systems. By the way, those werent Bolsheviks, those werent socialists that built those things for us, Bennet said.
Although the stimulus saved the country from a second Great Depression, Bennet said, this generation must do more to leave better opportunities for its children.
Buck replied that $3 trillion in spending came since Bennet entered the Senate.
Thats something he has to take responsibility for, Buck said.
Senators have the power to confirm Supreme Court justices, and Buck said he would have voted against both of Obamas nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Bennet said he probably would have voted against Justice Clarence Thomas, but that presidents should be allowed to have their nominees confirmed as long as the Senate finds the nominees are qualified to serve on the court.
The debate also touched on taxes, the war in Afghanistan and other positions Buck took during the Republican primary.