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Candidates for NC Governor Debate

It was fitting that debate organizers positioned the candidates in alphabetical order from left to right. That meant Libertarian candidate Mike Munger stood between Pat McCrory and Bev Perdue serving as a buffer at times. Before the debate began, McCrory and Perdue spoke to Munger but never to each other. Perdue went on the attack early on. "You can rest assured that as governor of this state, I will continue to put cops on the street, unlike the mayor of Charlotte who vetoed a budget with new cops in it," she said. McCrory shot back, "Well her notes are inaccurate like her commercials. I'm proud of our record in public safety. When I became mayor we were averaging 125 murders a year, we took it down to at least 50. We've hired more police than any mayor of Charlotte." Then he turned to police unions. "The fact of the matter is you go talk to any police officer on the street- not a union organizer that endorses her because she's promised them 25-year retirement which will bust the pension program in North Carolina," McCrory said. "I challenge!... Shame on you Pat McCrory for indicting the law enforcement folks of this state for endorsing me. These are hardworking men and women," said Perdue. On state income tax rates for individuals and corporations, it was Munger's turn to swing at Perdue, who has been lieutenant governor for the past eight years. "Our state income tax is the highest in the southeast and so is our gas tax. And we're misusing both of those. If I were governor the first thing I would want do is go back in a time machine two years and give myself a big kick in the bottom," said Munger. Perdue said she knows what it takes to make the state budget work. She noted that she served as chairwoman of the senate appropriations committee. So did McCrory. He said, "She was at one time the head of the appropriations committee and it continued the norm where much of the appropriations was done behind closed doors. And that continues today where we have unfunded mandates directed onto local government." On healthcare, McCrory also voiced opposition to state requirements of what should be covered by company health insurance. He doesn't say what shouldn't be covered, but says too much is required. Perdue made now apologies for what state law requires. "I believe if I have a mammogram my insurance ought to pay for it. And I believe when you have a prostate exam, your insurance ought to pay for it. And I believe if you have a mentally ill child those mandates should be part of the insurance system in North Carolina," said Perdue She also said McCrory doesn't want insurance for low-income children. He started to rebut, but quieted down. After the debate, McCrory addressed the attacks. "She's got her facts wrong and some people might actually believe some of these ads. I saw several ads the other day and I said I won't vote for myself. I mean that's how ridiculous it's getting," he said. Perdue expressed confidence with her campaign strategy, so far. "I trust the voters of North Carolina. At the end of the day they're going to elect the best governor for this state. And I happen to be that person. I'm more qualified to lead. I know what it takes and I can get the job done," she said. There was some agreement between the two during the debate. The candidates called a four-day work week for state employees a bad idea. They also said the federal No Child Left Behind Act is ineffective. And they said the state's gas tax is too high. But neither said whether they would support legislation to lower it.