U.S. Senator Carl Levin played the attack dog role for fellow Democrat and 7th Congressional District hopeful Mark Schauer at a town hall meeting in Ann Arbor last night.

About 50 supporters gathered to hear Levin campaign alongside Schauer at the Local 252 office of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union on Jackson Road.

Schauer hopes to unseat first-term Congressman Tim Walberg, who was elected in 2006. Levin, a five-term incumbent, is seeking reelection against challenger Jack Hoogendyk, who currently serves in the Michigan House of Representatives.

Schauer chastised Walberg’s record, saying he exemplifies the politics that are hurting Michigan residents financially.

“Tim Walberg represents all of the failed economic and failed national security policies of this president,” he said.

Levin echoed Schauer’s statement, adding a metaphor to illustrate his point.

“(Walberg) doesn’t believe in government helping folks have opportunity, or health care or social security,” Levin said. “I don’t know if he served in the army, but if he did, he would have been a private. He believes in privatizing things. He would have been a private first class.”

Levin, who spoke on campus earlier this month, also stressed the importance of Schauer’s campaign, calling it one of the nation’s key House races in this election.

He and Schauer then answered questions about topics including the economy, education and the war in Iraq for about 40 minutes.

Asked about what led to the recent financial crisis and what could be done to avoid a similar incident in the future, Levin pointed to past deregulation efforts.

“I can go backwards in time and talk about all the deregulation, fanaticism of this administration, including the Walbergs of the group (who said) get government of out of there,” Levin said. “That’s the damn problem. We got government off Wall Street’s back.”

Levin also called for an end to offshore tax havens, which allow people to prevent their funds from being taxed.

“$100 billion a year, we figure, lost,” he said. “This is revenue Uncle Sam is supposed to get.”

Schauer said he would focus on healing Michigan’s hamstrung economy if elected. The state holds the nation’s highest unemployment rate, at almost 9 percent.

“I want to pledge to you that I will always be focused on what we need to do to help turn around Michigan’s economy and move Michigan forward,” he said. “I’m going to be singularly focused.”

Speaking on public education, Schauer said reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act was vital, provided it receives more funding.

“My dream, someday, is that we truly do make education the top priority and we back it with the resources we need,” he said. “We’ve got to put resources into helping kids graduate.”

A Rasmussen poll from Oct. 8 shows Levin leading Hoogendyk, 61 percent to 36. Schauer said he expects his race to be closer than Levin’s.

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