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Cuccinelli, McAuliffe Trade Jabs, Tout Experience in Debate

Photo from Associated Press

Photo from Associated Press

September 25, 2013

In less than six weeks, Virginians will choose a new governor. As the campaigns wind down, two candidates had another chance Wednesday to convince voters they are the right man for the job.

Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe squared off for about an hour in their first prime-time, televised debate, which was hosted by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce.

The two candidates answered direct questions, avoided others and took a few jabs at one another.

"I have called for a $100 gift ban. Any state elected official cannot take a gift of more than $100," said McAuliffe. "Clearly you can buy a lot of turkeys with $100."

"If Terry's elected governor, we're going to have to change the state motto from sic semper tyrannis to quid pro quo," said Cuccinelli.

Attorney General Cuccinelli tried to paint himself as the more experienced candidate.

"I've also served in state government for ten years and know how it works. I'm the only candidate in this race who won't need on the job training," said Cuccinelli. "Folks, governor is not an entry level job. That's what it would be for Terry."

McAuliffe hit back, saying his years spent as a businessman are beneficial to boosting the economy.

"I started my first business when I was 14 years old because I had to pay for college. I've been involved in a number of businesses since that time, chairman of a bank by the age of 30, built thousands of homes. I've been involved in a wide variety of different businesses," said McAuliffe.

When asked about abortion and gay rights, Cuccinelli once again said he is pro life and that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

"You may not always agree with me in this race, but you'll always know where I stand and why I hold the positions that I do," the republican said.

But McAuliffe took the opposite position, saying Cuccinelli's social attitudes will cost the commonwealth.

"There are consequences to this mean-spirited attack on women's health, on gay Virginians," said McAuliffe. "If we're going to build a new economy in Virginia, we're going to do it while bringing everyone together."

With McAuliffe ahead in the polls, most experts say Wednesday's event was not enough to change the face of the race, but it does set the stage for their final debate.

The third debate will be October 24 at Virginia Tech.

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