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The gubernatorial candidates answered questions at the University of Richmond.
Friday, October 11, 2013
Less than four weeks from Election Day, the two major party candidates, in back-to-back appearances at the University of Richmond made their pitch Thursday night and whacked each other on a wide array of issues from health care to higher education.
In a casual setting on stage at the Modlin Center, the candidates appeared separately and chatted with university president Ed Ayers for about 30 minutes each. Each candidate was asked the same questions, which they had in advance of the event.
Both candidates touched on their higher education plans before the crowd of several hundred people, including many students. They clashed over Medicaid expansion under the federal health care law — McAuliffe wants it, Cuccinelli doesn’t — and pitched their plans on taxes and job growth.
Cuccinelli seized on a report that McAuliffe was among hundreds of passive investors with a Rhode Island estate planner who is charged with defrauding people who are terminally ill. McAuliffe has stressed that he had no knowledge of the estate planner’s allegedly fraudulent activities.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” Cuccinelli said. “He was investing in people dying.”
After the program, McAuliffe told reporters, “I was a passive investor.”
Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian nominee, was not part of the program. Ayers said Sarvis had not been announced as the party’s nominee at the time invit ations went out, so the university has asked Sarvis to come to the school Oct. 23 for a similar conversation.
McAuliffe, who is leading among female voters by 19 percentage points in a new Quinnipiac University poll, said at one point in his conversation with Ayers that “I want every woman in this audience to understand that I trust women to make their own decisions on their own personal health care choices.”
He said Cuccinelli sponsored “personhood” legislation and McAuliffe said he would veto those types of bills.
On higher education, Cuccinelli said he supports the tuition assistance grants for around $3,500 per student, which help students attending private colleges and universities.
He also would encourage students in STEM disciplines and wants to expand digital learning.
McAuliffe said the state needs to continue funding higher education.
“Education is an investment, it’s not an expense,” he said.
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