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Taxes, Security Dominate U.S. Senate Race in Colorado

In recent exchanges between the candidates, Coors said that the United States should not cater to the United Nations’ wishes over its security issues.

“We cannot go on bended knee to the United Nations to ask permission to defend our freedom,” the Coors Brewing Co. heir said at a luncheon with the Colorado Contractors Association. “This is America. We don’t ask permission to protect our freedom.”

In an effort to present himself as a politician who can rise above party lines, Salazar, Colorado’s attorney general, said partisanship was the reason that homeland security was not better in the United States.

“America should have been acting as though our hair was on fire beginning long before 9/11,” Salazar said at the luncheon.

The candidates also are taking a stand on the economy, focusing primarily on tax cuts.

Both have said that they would cut taxes — but each has a different take on how it should happen.

Spurred by a Coors campaign attack ad that accused Salazar of wanting to raise taxes, the attorney general responded that he would vote to make most of President Bush’s income tax cuts permanent. The president’s tax cuts are set to expire in 2010.

Salazar said he would restore the income tax rates from 2001 on the nation’s top 2 percent. He also supports keeping an estate tax for those who inherit $5 million or more and families who inherit at least $10 million.

Coors, however, said he would eliminate the estate tax, keep the cuts for the top 2 percent of income earners and eliminate dividend taxes.

The brewery owner also said that he likes the idea of imposing a national sales tax instead of a federal income tax.

Even though Salazar thinks a flat tax rate should be debated, he ultimately disagrees with it because he said he believes it would place more of a burden on the middle class.

“Ideas concerning tax simplification are all ideas that ought to be on the table, ” Salazar said. “From everything that I have read, I think a flat tax is not something that is workable.”

Tax cuts may be the current center of attention, but the candidates also faced questions on their stances on abortion, drinking age, assault weapons ban and the USA Patriot Act in a debate before the League of Women Voters.

In mid-September, Salazar was ahead with 53 percent of the vote, while Coors was pulling in 42 percent, according to a Rocky Mountain News/News 4 poll. Four percent of the voters were undecided, and the margin of error was plus or minus 4.33 percentage points.

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