Corker, Ford Spar on Backgrounds

Chattanooga (AP) -- Democratic US Senate Candidate Harold Ford Junior described Republican opponent Bob Corker as a "rubber stamp" for the Bush Administration, in a debate Tuesday night.

Meanwhile Corker called Ford a Washington insider from a political family.

Ford and Corker debated for the second time in the race to replace Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Republican.

Their one-hour debate at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga ended tensely with Corker questioning Ford about his relationship with his father, a former congressman. Corker said Ford's father served as a lobbyist for Fannie Mae and the younger Ford served on the Financial Services Committee.

Ford responded that no one in his family has ever lobbied him and he would refuse them if they did.

Ford is a congressman representing Memphis and Corker is former mayor of Chattanooga.

The race may determine the balance of power in the Senate and is being closely watched by both parties nationally.

Polls show the race a dead heat with early voting beginning next week and Election Day November 7th.

Corker, responding to accusations of being a rubber stamp, said he would not kowtow to anyone.

Ford, he said, has voted 88% of the time with Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton.

Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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