Monday, Oct. 11, 2010 | 11:05 p.m.
The second debate between Democratic Rep. Dina Titus and Republican Joe Heck proved much more spirited than the first, with both 3rd Congressional District candidates passionately defending their positions, interrupting one another to make their points and accusing each other of misstating facts.
At one point, Titus put on her reading glasses and pulled out a thick binder to quote Heck's own words about health care mandates he opposed while a state senator. Heck said he opposed the mandates because the costs would be passed on to consumers. Titus argued, as she has in several campaign commercials, that Heck was more concerned about insurance companies than people.
Heck maintained throughout the debate that Titus' "whole campaign has been inaccurate."
The candidates sparred, as they have for months, about whether the federal stimulus bill was effective in creating jobs, whether health care reform will help or hurt small businesses and whether the country is in better shape since Democrats took over.
Heck argued that his history as a doctor, soldier and small business owner gives him "real-world experience" that Titus lacks.
Titus touted accomplishments during her two years in office, highlighting homeowner workshops she held and citing money she brought home to Nevada.
"We have helped thousands of people save their homes," Titus said. "Those kind of things make you feel like you're making a difference."
"I think I've got the better perspective," Heck said.
The debate took place at Congregation Ner Tamid, a temple in Henderson, in front of a crowd of about 500 people.
Likely a nod to the setting, moderator and Sun columnist Jon Ralston brought up an issue that previously had not been discussed by the campaigns -- Israel.
Ralston asked each candidate to grade the Obama administration on how it has dealt with Israel and Middle East foreign relations.
Heck gave the administration a D+, saying "it pretty much has forsaken Israel" by making deals with enemies of the Jewish state.
Titus also criticized the president, giving him an "incomplete."
Titus argued that peace talks can't be forced by the United States and said Obama "doesn't have a good sense of what a settlement is."
"To say you have to stop settlements when it's your own neighborhood and make that a red herring, I think that's a mistake," she said.
Both candidates described themselves as vigorous defenders of Israel.
Titus and Heck will meet again for a third debate Wednesday at Temple Beth Sholom in Las Vegas.