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Republican Senate Candidates Debate Gun Control, Health Care

BOSTON (CBS) - The task in front of all three Republican candidates for the Commonwealth's open U.S. Senate seat was clear: find a way to differentiate themselves from one another.

It was a job easier said than done. Former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez, State Representative Dan Winslow, and former US Attorney Michael Sullivan all opposed President Barack Obama's budget proposal for example, and all three oppose the president's health care reforms.

VIDEO: Senate Debate

One area in which there was some disagreement is this week's historic vote on gun control taking place in the Senate chamber where the men hope to serve. The current proposal before senators would expand the number and scope of background checks required prior to gun purchases.

Winslow and Gomez said that if they were voting in the Senate this week, they would support the proposal. Sullivan, however, said this particular piece of legislation does not do enough to prevent actual gun violence.

Gomez took several opportunities to mention that he is a political newcomer, and when his two opponents got into some verbal sparring matches – including one over background checks – Gomez suggested he was above that type of bickering.

"They proved my point today," Gomez said after the debate. "I couldn't have been happier."

Both men bristled at Gomez' assertion that they are what he called "career politicians."

Said Winslow: "We're not going to change Washington by sending the same people down to Washington who've already been there. The people who are in congress now are part of the problem."

In post-debate interviews, Sullivan also said that he would behave in a way that acknowledges the criticisms voters have of other elected officials.

"Some people say one thing when they're asking for the job and they say something completely different when they get the job," Sullivan said. "Certainly that's not been me."

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