Connie Mack campaigns in Tampa — calls on Bill Nelson for another debate

"I was drawn to him. I knew and watched his work in the House of Representatives. It's not like he was an unknown quantity," McCain told a Bay News 9 reporter. "I think he's fully qualified to be a Senator in one of the most important states in the union."

Mack told the crowd that he would be the voice of small businesses in the Senate, vowing to help them overcome what he said was an anti-business climate in the White House.

"They overtax them, they over-regulate them, and everywhere they turn around, it's tougher for small businesses just to stay afloat ... if you want small businesses to grow, you unleash that entrepreneurial spirit by reducing taxes, reducing regulations. That's how we get this country moving again."

But Mack has been making headlines because of his call for the U.S. to stop funding the United Nations.

"The United Nations in my opinion, is an organization that doesn't have the ideals, principals and values that we share here in the U.S."

In particular, Mack has taken exception that the U.N. might send workers to monitor the polls on election day.

"It's shameful," he said.

CL asked Sen. McCain if he agreed with Mack's declaration?

McCain said not completely, though he listed a litany of problems he had with the body, beginning with the fact that special envoys employed by the UN to stop the slaughtering in Syria (Kofi Annan and Lakhdar Brahimi) perpetuated by Bashar al-Assad have not been successful. He said the U.N. does some things well, such as humanitarian missions.

This has been quite an unusual Senate race, with neither candidate making many public appearance in the Tampa Bay area, but instead running an ad war on television. Nelson has out fundraised Mack, but Super PACS have bailed Mack out with an overwhelming number of negative ads against Sen. Nelson.

  • Connie Mack was joined by John McCain on the campaign stump

Two weeks before the election that could swing the entire U.S. Senate, Connie Mack is still hoping for another debate with the man he's trying to knock off — Democrat Bill Nelson.

"We have accepted eight debates," Mack told reporters after he spoke before a crowd at a Mitt Romney campaign office on South Gandy Boulevard in Tampa. "He only accepted one. We accepted debates with CNN, with former Sen. Bob Graham, a Democrat ... look, it's not a secret. Sen. Nelson thinks he's entitled to the seat. He's not out there working for it. He doesn't want to to debate. I think everybody saw in the last debate why. We would love the opportunity to have another debate."

The one and only scheduled debate between the two candidates was held last week in Fort Lauderdale.

However, some think it's a bit hypocritical for Mack to complain about Nelson's refusal to engage in more debates. After all, isn't that what Mack did this past summer to his GOP opponents like Dave Weldon and Mike McCalister by refusing to engage in any televised forums with them?

Mack denied that was the case. "What was clear was that we had a 35-point lead over our primary opponents. This race is neck-and-neck."

On Tuesday, Mack was joined in Tampa and at two other stops in Florida by Arizona Sen. John McCain, who told Mack at the Republican convention that he would gladly campaign for him this fall.

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