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At Debate, McAuliffe And Cuccinelli Spar Over Signature Issues

Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAuliffe, left, shakes the hand of Republican challenger Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, right, after a debate at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013.
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAuliffe, left, shakes the hand of Republican challenger Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, right, after a debate at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013.

In Virginia, candidates for governor squared off last night in the third and final debate last night in Roanoke.

Harry Wilson of Roanoke College asked the question that's on the mind of Virginia voters: "At the conclusion of your term, what do you hope that journalists and pundits will identify as your major accomplishment, your signature issue? And please limit yourself to just one issue."

"Obviously growing and diversifying the economy is obviously the huge challenge that we face. Sequestration is here for the year. Most likely it will be here for another year. That's another $57 billion in cuts," said Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

His answer included Virginia being the number one recipient of funds from the Department of Defense, the importance of education and new wave energy technology and supporting research and development, doubling the angel investor tax credit, and commercializing academic research.

"I like those too. I like education. I like puppies. But I don't bring a puppy home if I don't have a plan for how I'm going to deal with that puppy or guess what my house is going to look like. And he's all puppy and no plan," said Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

When asked to specify his one issue, McAuliffe said jobs, the same issue that Cuccinelli identified as his signature issue. On the issue of gun control, McAuliffe said government has a role in keeping people safe.

"My opponent likes to say I got an F from the NRA. I don't care what grade I got from the NRA. As governor, I want to make sure our communities are safe," he said.

Cuccinelli said the answer is addressing mental health problems. "Virginia doesn't do all that well in this area. We have a lot of work we need to do, both with children and with adults." he said.

The candidates met with less than two weeks before Election Day.

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