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Colo. Senate Candidates Debate Patriot Act

Americans should be willing to give up some of their freedom to protect the United States from terrorists, Senate hopeful Peter Coors (search) said Monday during a debate with his rival for the GOP nomination.

The beer magnate said he would vote for the USA Patriot Act (search), even if it contained a provision allowing authorities to demand information on book buyers and library users.

"You don't have to give up all of your liberties in order to have security. We may have to give up some, and I'm willing to do that," Coors said during the debate with former Rep. Bob Schaffer (search) that will be aired Friday by KBDI-TV.

The House approved the provision in an amendment to the Patriot Act last week. The Senate has yet to write its version of the bill.

Schaffer said he didn't like the amendment allowing access to library records: "I get nervous about giving more authority to the federal government."

The candidates are seeking the seat of Republican Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (search), who abruptly announced this year he would not seek a third term because of health concerns.

The race is considered one of the most competitive in the nation and could be pivotal in determining control of the Senate. Republicans now hold a 51-48 majority, with one Democrat-aligned independent. The two Democrats in the race are educator Mike Miles and Attorney General Ken Salazar.

The primaries are Aug. 10.

Coors said it was not hypocritical of him to support benefits for gay couples while he was an executive with the Coors Brewing Co. and now support a proposed federal amendment that would bar legal recognition of gay marriages.

"As an elected official, you have a significantly different responsibility in terms of dealing with a broader population," Coors said. "I'm not sure that because we applied certain policies to a business that has certain responsibility to their consumers and to their employees that the same applies to the federal government."

Schaffer said he also supports the amendment, which was introduced in Congress by Rep. Marilyn Musgrave and Sen. Wayne Allard, both R-Colo.