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Five Key Moments From the Walker-Warnock Debate in Georgia


The talk between Senator Raphael Warnock and his less experienced Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, had its share of sharp clashes, because the two candidates in one among the country’s most-watched Senate races faced off for his or her one and only debate.

Mr. Walker, a football star and first-time candidate, surpassed low expectations, largely hewing to his strategy of tying his opponent to President Biden, whose approval rankings remain underwater within the pivotal swing state. Mr. Warnock, a pastor-turned-politician, tried to forged Mr. Walker as unfit for office due to his policy positions and private baggage.

Listed below are standout moments from the talk.

Mr. Walker’s veracity has been a significant issue within the campaign, as he has been accused of misrepresenting topics, including his résumé, his charitable donations and his number of youngsters. Mr. Warnock tried to make use of an exchange over crime to accuse his opponent of lying.

“We’ll see time and time again tonight — as we’ve already seen — that my opponent has an issue with the reality,” Mr. Warnock said. “And simply because he says something doesn’t mean it’s true.”

Mr. Warnock then referred to the time his opponent claimed to have been a police officer and an F.B.I. agent. Mr. Walker had made the claims as recently as 2019, when he told an audience that he was an F.B.I. agent — which he has never been. He has also claimed to work with the Cobb County Police Department in Georgia. The department told The Atlanta Journal-Structure that there was no record of him working there.

In response at the talk, Mr. Walker pulled out what gave the impression to be a badge before being reprimanded by a moderator for violating a prohibition against using “props.” Mr. Walker replied, “Well, it’s not a prop. That is real.”

With the primaries over, each parties are shifting their focus to the overall election on Nov. 8.

Probably the most notable exchange over abortion rights wasn’t about accusations that Mr. Walker paid for an ex-girlfriend’s procedure. As an alternative, it was an apparent change in policy.

In May, Mr. Walker said a ban on abortion should not have any exceptions, pushing for a more expansive proposal than the six-week prohibition passed by the Republican-controlled State Legislature. “Like I say, I think in life. I think in life,” he told reporters.

On the talk stage, he softened that position, implying that he backs the six-week bill that features exceptions for rape, incest and lifetime of the mother. He then turned to Mr. Warnock’s stance, saying the pastor backs no limits on the procedure and is ignoring “the child within the room as well.”

How Times reporters cover politics. We depend on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they are usually not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause.

In a single notable exchange, Mr. Walker tried to flip the script on Mr. Warnock, after the pastor skirted questions on whether an Atlanta apartment constructing owned by Ebenezer Baptist Church had evicted tenants. The apartments are for people experiencing homelessness or with mental disabilities.

Mr. Warnock tried to forged Republicans as “desperate” for attempting to “sully” a church attended by civil rights icons, including former Representative John Lewis, of Georgia, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Mr. Walker wasn’t cowed, returning to the difficulty an issue later to forged Mr. Warnock because the “desperate” one.

“It’s OK to talk the reality. Don’t bear false witness, senator,” shouted Mr. Walker, who said the evictions were “written about within the paper.”

In an election that has been influenced by the positions of former President Donald J. Trump, Mr. Walker made one other notable reversal.

Up to now, Mr. Walker has repeatedly questioned the outcomes of the 2020 election and spread false stolen-election theories. Immediately after the 2020 race, he didn’t declare Mr. Biden the rightful winner.

“I can guarantee you, Joe Biden didn’t get 50 million people to vote for him, but yet, people think that he’s won this election,” Mr. Walker said in a Fox News interview in December 2020. Mr. Biden won greater than 81 million votes.

Mr. Walker has since tried to temper those statements. In May, during his primary, he told an interviewer, “I believe something happened; I don’t know what it was, but I said something happened so individuals are indignant.”

But on Friday night, when asked whether Mr. Biden had defeated Mr. Trump, he sounded a distinct note.

“President Biden won and Raphael Warnock won,” he said.

On questions of democracy, each candidates said they’d respect the outcomes of the election, no matter its consequence.

The 2 men veered from each other on an issue of whether or not they would support their party’s leaders in the event that they won the presidential nomination in 2024.

Mr. Walker quickly answered within the affirmative, saying “President Trump is my friend.” He used the moment to hit Mr. Biden — and by extension Mr. Warnock — for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, a move he described as abandoning an ally.

For Mr. Warnock, nevertheless, the query appeared harder. He didn’t answer directly, saying he had not “spent a minute” fascinated by it and noting that he was more focused on the election at hand.

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