Yesterday's senatorial debate covered Ebola, health care and other familiar topics

Lynn Bartels --- The Denver Post 

Ebola emerged Wednesday night as a new issue in Colorado's U.S. Senate debate with Democrat Mark Udall and Republican Cory Gardner, but much of their hour-long exchange focused on familiar themes.

The two exchanged jabs for nearly an hour in 9News' studio as moderators Kyle Clark and Brandon Rittiman pushed the candidates to answer questions on everything from climate change to reproductive rights to health-care reform.

When it was time for the candidates to quiz each other, Clark couldn't resist, saying the Senate hopefuls got to see what it was like to "ask questions and not get straight answers."

Gardner gave up a safe congressional seat for the chance of knocking off Udall, who is seeking a second term. Their neck-and-neck battle is one of the hottest races nationwide.

The candidates were asked how they would evaluate the federal response to the Ebola crisis.

"We ought to listen to the doctors and the health-care professionals," Udall said. "If they believe we ought to close our borders, we ought to restrict flights to and from West Africa. Let's listen to them.

"But senators and congressmen shouldn't be making those decisions. We should be supporting the resources that are necessary to meet the Ebola challenge."

Gardner called for an immediate traffic ban on all travel fromWest African countries where the Ebola virus is spreading. He will be in Washington Thursday to attend an Ebola hearing as a member of the oversight panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"If the president's not willing to put into a place a travel ban, then we should have 100 percent screening of the people who are coming from those affected areas," Gardner said.

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