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Virginia governor’s debate gets heated as McAuliffe and Youngkin trade swipes

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It didn’t take long for Virginia gubernatorial candidates Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin to drop the niceties, turn up the heat, and get under each other's skin in their first debate Thursday night.

Republican Youngkin started by noting he invited McAuliffe to a joint public service announcement to encourage Virginians to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but the Democrat declined.

“Asking to do a PSA is a political stunt,” said McAuliffe, a former Virginia governor seeking a second, nonconsecutive term. “I am for requiring mandating vaccinations. He's not. He likes to do PSAs.”

The moderator pleaded with the two candidates to adhere to the debate’s time limits as the two talked over each other.

VIRGINIA GOVERNOR’S DEBATE: HOW MCAULIFFE AND YOUNGKIN STACK UP

“We need all four wheels on the ground, pal,” Youngkin said to McAuliffe. “Next thing you know, you’re going to be yelling at a sheriff,” he added, referencing a video of McAuliffe on Wednesday lashing out at the county sheriff for asking about an endorsement from an organization that supports defunding the police.

McAuliffe didn't hold his tongue. After Youngkin explained why he wouldn’t sign a "clean economy" act — despite moderators reminding him that his time was up — McAuliffe sniped: “Relax, Glenn, I don’t want you to pass out.”

Each came prepared with opposition research to highlight.

McAuliffe took a shot at the Carlyle Group, the private equity firm at which Youngkin was co-CEO before launching his gubernatorial campaign.

“They bought nursing homes, they neglected seniors, people died, including five right here in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” McAuliffe charged. “Your record at Carlyle is outsourcing jobs to foreign countries.”

Youngkin wryly noted that McAuliffe invested thousands of dollars of his own money in Carlyle.

“If you can trust me with your money, the rest of Virginia can trust me,” he said.

“I lost it,” McAuliffe retorted. “It wasn't a good investment.”

Youngkin chided McAuliffe for appointing a woman to George Mason University’s board who was anti-vaccine and making another appointment to a parole board, who an inspector general report later found violated the law.

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Despite the attacks, the two did get down to answering or clarifying their positions on substantive policy questions.

Youngkin reiterated he would not sign a law akin to the controversial Texas “heartbeat” law that effectively outlaws abortion after about six weeks. But he did say he would sign a law outlawing abortion after a fetus is thought to feel pain, which is usually around 20 weeks.

McAuliffe said he does not support ending qualified immunity, the doctrine that protects law enforcement officials from personal liability for actions they take while on duty.

“Any officer who's acting in good faith should and will have the full protections of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” McAuliffe said. “You don't want anyone going out there putting their lives at risk and us not having their back.”

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Tags: News, Campaign, Glenn Youngkin, Terry McAuliffe, Virginia

Original Author: Emily Brooks

Original Location: Virginia governor’s debate gets heated as McAuliffe and Youngkin trade swipes

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