By Mason Votes Director Christian Smith
Virginia gubernatorial candidates Bob McDonnell (R) and Creigh Deeds (D) debated transportation, taxes, gay adoption rights and social issues this morning in McLean, Va. Throughout the debate, McDonnell tried to define himself as a friend of business, women and the economy while Deeds went negative, spending a great deal of time on defining his opponent as a foe of women and a flip-flopper.
Although McDonnell has tried to move past his recent thesis debacle, Deeds pressed the issue several times, inserting it into topics that seemingly had no association to the social themes discussed in the thesis.
On the issue of health care, McDonnell admitted that he and his family had spent years without health insurance while he was attending law school. “I think we have the greatest health care system in the world… and turning that over to the federal government… is absolutley the wrong thing to do,” said McDonnell who believes the answer lies in employee based health insurance and focusing incentives on prevention based care. Deeds, on the other hand said that he supports the president’s plan and individual mandates with exemptions for small business owners.
While both candidates promised they would not raise taxes if elected, they each insisted the other would need to do so in order to fund their agendas.
An unexpected moment occurred when Deeds said, “There’s a hint of racism in some of the opposition to President Obama that is crystal clear.”
McDonnell appeared relaxed and calm, Deeds’ stance was rigid and his responses abrasive. Overall, it appeared that McDonnell won the debate but his campaign will have to wait to see if they can relay that win to the larger Virginia audience. With Deeds trailing McDonnell in the polls that task might not be too difficult.
View the below videos to hear the candidates’ post-debate spin.