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Kuster vs. Bass Debate, Sept. 18, 2012The philosophical gap between 2nd District U.S. House candidates Charlie Bass and Ann McLane Kuster on tax and health care policy and how to deal with the federal deficit is as wide as ever, but the two longtime acquaintances kept a civil, nearly polite, tone in their first debate of campaign 2012 on Tuesday.

Incumbent Charlie Bass, R-NH, and Democrat Ann McLane Kuster shake hands following their debate for the 2nd Congressional District seat at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library in Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday, Sept 18, 2012.  (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Incumbent Charlie Bass, R-NH, and Democrat Ann McLane Kuster debate for the 2nd Congressional District seat at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library in Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday, Sept 18, 2012.  (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Incumbent Charlie Bass, R-NH, and Democrat Ann McLane Kuster debate for the 2nd Congressional District seat at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library in Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday, Sept 18, 2012. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Incumbent Charlie Bass, R-NH, and Democrat Ann McLane Kuster share a light moment before debating for the 2nd Congressional District seat at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library in Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday, Sept 18, 2012.  (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Democrat Ann McLane Kuster speaks while debating incumbent Charlie Bass, R-NH, for the 2nd Congressional District seat at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library in Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday, Sept 18, 2012.  (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)