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Published September 05, 2012, 10:46 AM

Heitkamp, Berg clash on taxes, Social Security

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's U.S. Senate candidates clashed on Social Security and taxes during their first debate Wednesday.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's U.S. Senate candidates clashed on Social Security and taxes during their first debate Wednesday.

Republican Rick Berg and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp are competing to succeed incumbent Democrat Kent Conrad this fall.

Heitkamp says Berg backs turning Social Security into a private pension system, and cutting taxes for wealthy people. She says North Dakotans don't like those ideas.

Berg says the Democratic-controlled Senate has been an obstacle to getting the nation's spending under control.

Heitkamp and Berg agreed on several issues. They won't rule out military action against Iran to prevent the country from getting nuclear weapons. Both candidates say they support developing all of the nation's energy sources, including coal and oil.

The North Dakota Broadcasters Association hosted the debate.

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