Monday, July 27, 2009

McDonnell and Deeds Spar in their First Debate

On Saturday Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell held their first debate. Here are some of the reviews:

The Washington Post

“McDonnell was on the offensive for much of the 80-minute debate, repeatedly pressing Deeds to take positions on federal measures that would limit greenhouse gas emissions and make it easier for unions to organize, both of which McDonnell said would hurt state businesses. McDonnell also knocked Deeds for refusing to propose a specific plan to pay for transportation fixes.”

“…McDonnell successfully steered much of the conversation to federal bills that he said would hurt the state's economy.

"I tell you, whether it's a Republican or Democratic Congress, it doesn't make any difference to me," McDonnell said. "As governor of Virginia, if there are policies generated at the federal level that are bad for Virginia, kill jobs and hurt our business and hurt our citizens, I will stand up against them."

“On the key issue of unclogging Virginia's roads, McDonnell put Deeds on the defensive for his claim that he would solve the transportation problem in his first year in office by building a consensus in the General Assembly rather than by advancing his own ideas. McDonnell suggested that Deeds's silence masks his intention to raise taxes for roads and transit, an approach Deeds has supported in the past.

"He's got a wish list. He doesn't have a plan," McDonnell said, at one point even urging debate watchers to visit Deeds's Web site so they could see for themselves.”

The Roanoke Times

Deeds said he would make transportation a top priority in his first year in office, saying "there's no quicker way to create jobs and create economic prosperity in every corner of the commonwealth."

But when McDonnell asked him whether he would increase taxes, Deeds was evasive.

"A lot of options are going to be on the table," Deeds said. "I'm not going to presume what will or will not pass the General Assembly next year."

McDonnell hammered on Deeds' answer, telling the Democrat: "You don't have a plan. You haven't suggested one dime."

Pressed further on the issue by reporters after the debate, Deeds said: "I'm running for governor, I'm not running for dictator."

"A specific funding source would be a lightning rod," Deeds said. "I'm not prepared to throw up any lightning rods."

McDonnell said he would not raise taxes, saying, "I don't think the people of Virginia could sustain another tax increase."

The Richmond Times-Dispatch

McDonnell said Deeds has no transportation plan.

Deeds said he would make transportation his top priority. He refused to rule out a tax increase and said he would call a special session next year to deal with the issue.

"A whole lot of options are on the table, and I'm not going to presume what will or won't pass the General Assembly next year," said Deeds, a state senator from Bath County.

The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

"Creigh, you don't have a plan. You haven't suggested one dime," McDonnell said, accusing Deeds of proposing only a wish list. "I think you ought to tell people exactly how you're going to fund it."

Deeds said his plan is "pretty specific."When pressed on whether he'd support tax increases to pay for road improvements--as he has in the past--Deeds said that "a lot of options are going to be on the table."

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