#VaGov Debate III offers more of the same - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

#VaGov Debate III offers more of the same

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BLACKSBURG, VA (WWBT) -

The two major party candidates for governor squared off Thursday in their final opportunity to make their pitch to voters.

With the home stretch in site both candidates retreated to their hard core supporters, hoping to push out the vote in the final few days.

The debate did deliver a little bit of everything. Including plenty of animal references, both real and fantasy.

"His plan is a little like believing he came here on a unicorn tonight," said former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe in reference to his opponent Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's budget plan.

Cuccinelli was able to use animals to illustrate his opponent's flaws as well.

"He (McAuliffe) is all puppy and no plan," he said "That's the way this has gone."

But when it came to substance- both sides drew some pretty stark lines. For instance on gun control. McAuliffe pushed his support of expanded background checks on the campus of Virginia Tech, site of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. It was a move in defiance of the powerful NRA.

"I do not care what grade I got from the NRA as governor," said McAuliffe who received an ‘F'.  "I want to make sure our communities are safe"

On the controversial expansion of Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act- Cuccineli remains opposed. He claims you can't count on Washington for the long term funding of anything.

"You can't make magic money out of the federal government like he'd like to," he said of McAuliffe.

And in making their final push they attempted to clearly define their opponent, Cuccinelli called McAuliffe out of touch- lacking experience and substance.

"Saying the words education and research that's great," said Cuccinelli. "But those are goals their platitudes they're not plans."

McAuliffe backed Cuccinelli into a partisan corner by highlighting a perception that he can't work with others.

"Pragmatism over ideology," he trumpeted. "In order to move forward we have to do it in a bi-partisan way."

For the last time these two men- on a stage as equals. In a little more than a week, one will be the next Governor of Virginia.

Not on stage tonight- the libertarian Robert Sarvis. Debate organizers chose not to invite him because he failed to meet the threshold of 10% in an average of public polling. Sarvis instead tweeted his thoughts on the exchange as the event was happening.

A full recap of the debate can be found on DecisionVirginia.com.

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