Terry McAuliffe, Ken Cuccinelli debate at Virginia Tech
BLACKSBURG, Va. (WJLA) – On a chilly Thursday night at Virginia Tech, the state’s two leading gubernatorial candidates went after each other with chilly and unfriendly aggressiveness during the third and final debate of this contentious campaign.
Trailing in all the major polls, Republican Ken Cuccinelli lit into Democrat Terry McAuliffe about never having held any type of office in the state while the latter hit Cuccinelli with repeated charges of dogmatic extremism.
“Some people run to do something, and some people run to be something,” Cuccinelli said of McAuliffe.
And this, comparing McAuliffe to the new owner of a young dog with scant experience of dealing with such: “He’s all puppy and no plans.”
McAuliffe insisted his plans are and will be geared toward bi-partisan support.
“The same kind of coalition I’ll assemble in Richmond,” he said.
They sparred on education issues, gun-control issues and newspaper endorsement issues, among other things.
But the thing that seemed to resonate the most was guns. After all, Virginia Tech was the site of the mass killing in April of 2007 that left 32 people dead.
“I do not believe we should be arming our teachers and our professors,” McAuliffe said. “. . .This is a fundamental difference in this race."
Cuccinelli noted that McAuliffe had received a grade of F from the National Rifle Association.
“I don’t care what grade I got from the NRA,” McAuliffe said, re-iterating his call for the universal background checks about which Cuccinelli is more cautious, stressing the better path is better mental health screening.
From Cuccinelli: “None of what you’ve asked about would have affected that tragedy.”
Noted gun-control advocate Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, this week donated more than a million dollars to the McAuliffe campaign.
The debate was held at the Haymarket Theatre at Squires Student Center, where Robert Sarvis was nowhere to be found. He's the Libertarian candidate for governor who wasn't invited to the latest affair.
Sarvis nonetheless garners about 9 percent of the vote in various polls.