All three Democratic candidates for Virginia Governor assured citizens they would eventually unite to close the controversial gun show loop hole. But last night's debate in Blacksburg proved the campaign will be a shooting match until the second Tuesday in June.
Candidates Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran left R. Creigh Deeds fumbling for his pockets, while the other two dueled on a more personal level.
All three candidates had been asked to respond to how they would fair head-to-head against Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell. Instead, Moran took the opportunity to take a shot at McAuliffe for maintaining his "positive" campaign as really a facade camouflaging his ulterior tactics."Now one thing I have to say about Terry, this is our fourth debate now and each time Terry says, 'Oh, I'm being positive I'll never say anything bad about another Democrat,'" Moran said. "It was Terry's campaign that ran the 3 a.m. ad questioning whether or not Barack Obama could be our commander-in-chief."
McAuliffe interrupted, smiling: "And I was designing the ads too, OK, that's good."
Moran pressed: "You take credit for running her campaign, take some responsibility."
McAuliffe insisted he had no discretion over Clinton's advertisements against President Obama, and stated, "I've never attacked a Democrat in my life and I'm not going to start now."
Moran persisted that "Whatever you face from me is child's play from what McDonnell will do to you." And that the former state delegate would seize upon the opportunity to face the Republican candidate in the election "because I will beat Bob McDonnell and I will beat him like a drum."
The intense exchange pushed candidate Deeds practically to the back of the stage. He was finally pulled back to the microphone after an expression that seemed too familiar during the debate for the state senator after the tangential arguments between Moran and McAuliffe during the questioning.
"Creigh Deeds still has 90 seconds," said debate moderator Ben Tribbett of the NotLarrySabato online blog.
Last night's debate, co-sponsored by The Collegiate Times, The Huffington Post, blogs FireDogLake, and Tribbett's Not Larry Sabato, touched on a variety of subjects geared toward collegiate voters and current events.
All three candidates agreed the "gun show loophole" needs to be closed. The candidates all used the example of how easy it currently is for felons and persons with mental health histories to obtain firearms.
"This year we did get two Republican votes and got that bill out of committee - that's the farthest it's ever gotten," Deeds said of his accomplishments in the state senate while representing the 25th district, while includes Charlottesville. "We didn't get the necessary votes on the floor of the senate but by golly I think its going to take somebody like me who comes from a part of the state where second amendment rights are respected.
"It's going to take a guy like me, who under the traditional ways of looking at those issues, who can bring people together from both sides of aisle, from all parts of the state and I'm determined to get it done, to get the gun show loop hole closed."