MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Michele Bachmann is calling her bid for re-election her toughest race yet. On Thursday, the congresswoman and her DFL challenger Jim Graves faced off in their second debate.

In the debate, Bachmann brandished her credentials on social issues.

“I am 100% pro-life,” she said. “My position has been the same for forty years. I agree with the position of the Catholic Church.”

Graves, a businessman, supports abortion rights.

“When a woman is in a very difficult situation that is between her family and her God,” he said. “I am not going to get in the middle of that.”

Bachmann is running a massive ad campaign against Graves. Many of the ads refer to Graves as “Big Spending Jim.” The ads claim Graves is in lock step with the President Barack Obama on policies like health care reform.

Graves, however, has sought to carve out a middle ground on many issues. On health care reform, he says some parts of the legislation are good other parts need an overhaul.

“My policy really transcends political lines,” he said. “I am not really red or blue; I go for the right answers for the problems that we have.”

Graves says the “Big Spending Jim” label suggests he voted for bills that he didn’t, because he wasn’t even in Congress.

Bachmann says the ads are fair and that she is fighting for votes.

“It’s always a challenge,” she said. “I don’t take anything for granted. I really respect everyone’s right to vote, and I want to go to every person as much as I can and make the case.”

Analysts say the conservative makeup of the 6th District should mean a Bachmann win. Professor Larry Jacobs of the Humphrey Institute said it’s possible for Graves to upset Bachmann, but “it’s a long shot.”

Two recent polls show Bachmann up by nine and six points. Both those polls, however, put her support at about 50 percent, which analysts say isn’t that strong of a showing considering how conservative the district is.


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