Gubernatorial candidates debate in Chesterfield county

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - The race for governor heated up as the two candidates faced off in a debate in Chesterfield.

It was the first, live televised debate between Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell.

The hour long debate covered numerous topics including education and transportation.

At one point the debate took on a negative tone.

"You used a strong word when you accused Mr. McDonnell of lying," said debate moderator Judy Woodruff to Creigh Deeds Monday night.

More than halfway through the "People's Debate" at the WCVE studios, Deeds said McDonnell has lied about some issues.  It happened as the two gubernatorial candidates discussed climate change.

"Bob continues to talk about the cap and trade bill and he continues to spend millions of dollars lying to voters of Virginia," said Deeds.

"Every major editorial board in Virginia has written an editorial saying my opponent's campaign is dishonest," said McDonnell.

"Maybe that was too strong of a word for a debate format but the fact of the matter is he's a one trick pony he keeps telling the same untruths over and over again," said Deeds after the debate was over.

This was a critical night for Deeds who's trailing McDonnell.

On the topic of transportation: McDonnell says fixing the state's infrastructure is one of the most pressing issues facing Virginia and that Deeds has no plan.

"It's very hard to attract new businesses if we don't fix infrastructure," said McDonnell, "using bonds, general fund money put more creative things like offshore drilling proceeds," said McDonnell.

"Four thousand bridges and tunnels are structurally deficient in Virginia, the day after I'm elected I'm going to start a bipartisan commission," said Deeds.

McDonnell and Deeds will meet again for a fourth and final debate next week in Roanoke.

Deeds says he hopes to keep the dialogue civil and focus on creating jobs and making college more affordable. McDonnell says he wants to create new business and put more money in the classrooms.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.