Friday October 3, 2008
Friday night's U.S. Senate debate in Roanoke was yet another meeting of two men who don't like each other and don't care to hide it.
"Don't talk down to me about how I don't understand," former Governor Jim Gilmore (R) exclaimed at one point. "You don't understand!"
"Governor Gilmore was called the most partisan governor in recent Virginia history," former Governor Mark Warner (D) offered.
"Mark Warner hasn't been honest with the people that are watching this here tonight," Gilmore told viewers.
While the candidates' first two debates focused heavily on energy policy, Friday night's discussion continually drifted back to passage earlier in the day of a Wall Street bailout package by Congress; a bill Gilmore opposed and Warner supported.
"Failing to act would have put too many people's lives into jeopardy and would have cost us potentially millions of jobs," Warner said.
"The next bailout is on the way," Gilmore promised. "In fact, even this very day people began to stand in line now, the airline industry's lining up like they're flying into Reagan Airport getting ready for a bailout."
The debate also touched on education, Iraq, health care and transportation, but in a campaign that's seen no shortage of disagreement and personal animosity this bailout bill served as a microcosm of a race between two candidates who seemingly couldn't be further apart.
"Here ladies and gentlemen are some of the earmarks," Gilmore said of the bailout package, "Puerto Rican rum production, wooden arrows, wooden arrow manufacturers, Hollywood TV and movie productions."
"If we buy some of these assets, who's going to be there to make sure the taxpayer buys them at the right value?" Warner asked. "Who's going to make sure that we're there to make sure that there's an upside if these institutions actually recover, which I hope they will."
According to a Mason-Dixon poll released Friday by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Warner heads into the final month of the campaign with a 57-31 lead. Gilmore will try and make up ground on Saturday at the annual Greene County GOP Pig Roast.