The two top candidates for Governor debated on KCUR Public Radio in Kansas City Thursday.
Jay Nixon and Kenny Hulshof faced off for an hour at 11 a.m.
The Kansas City Star's Steve Kraske moderated.
READ MY LIVE BLOGGING OF THE FULL DEBATE BELOW
11:59 a.m. Out of Time . . . Thoughts?
11:57 a.m. More money for foster families? Hulshof: Incredibly important, wants to boost child support enforcement as well. Says that's not a bright spot for the Attorney General. Nixon: Very, very important.
11:56 a.m. Lightning round. Embryonic Stem Cells? Nixon, Yes. Hulshof, No.
11:56 a.m. Nixon: If we had MOHELA around, that would help pay teachers more. Hulshof: Have tax credits towards an incentive fund for teachers.
11:54 a.m. Hulshof: I'm the only one willing to take on the teaching union on this issue. Supports charter schools for urban areas.
11:53 a.m. Hulshof says he supports PELL grants, "which I guess, is a voucher (under Nixon's definition)" Will that come back to haunt him --- out of context?
11:51 a.m. 3 things to fix schools? Nixon: Kids need to be ready to learn with pre-school programs in place, continue expanding alternative program, then get the drop out rates down and connect them to a job. Nixon's answer on education is better and more specific than on the economy.
11:50 a.m. Caller wants less billboards on the Interstate. What can the Governor do? Hulshof and Nixon both agree the people voted to keep them.
11:50 a.m. Nixon back to "Washington-speak." For campaign limits, committee contributions before he was against it . . .
11:48 a.m. Hulshof says $3.3 M unaccounted for in the A.G. office. Now hitting 2nd Injury Fund. Hulshof seems to be moving around to too many topics at once. Where's the focus?
11:47 a.m. Question to Hulshof: Why are you taking money from obscure committees? Hulshof says unlimited contributions is a better system. Hulshof says he's not taking them anymore. Nixon responds: "Yesterday, yesterday took $10,000." Nixon is laughing, the aggressor again.
11:46 a.m. Question: Why would Nixon take money from Ameren UE during the Taum Sauk Dam investigation? Nixon says it was a committee, and he gave it back.
11:45 a.m. Nixon back to Kenny on contracts through the A.G. office: "Kenny, you know better than that?" This refers to the Big Tobacco ad running right now.
11:43 a.m. I'm no strategist, but maybe Hulshof should just read off the list of Nixon's new programs, the price tags, and then say something like . . . "He says he won't raise your taxes, but with what's going on right now, do you really trust your government, can you really trust him, a few years down the road not to go back on that promise?"
11:42 a.m. That was the most engaging exchange of the hour so far. But it doesn't seem like Hulshof was able to score enough on it. Should he ignore the campaign finance limit question and go back to it?
11:41 a.m. Hulshof: Every time you had a shot a voting for a tax increase as a state lawmaker, you did? Nixon: That's false. Is it really responsible to be ruling out all taxes-no-matter-what in this environment?
11:40 a.m. Hulshof will take the pledge, then hits Nixon on taxes. Nixon laughs, says he supported the largest tax increase. They are mixing it up here, and Nixon is hitting Hulshof on his spending.
11:38 a.m. Caller: Do both of you pledge to not raise taxes under any circumstance? Nixon: We've got to hold the line. He's not about to sign the pledge though. "It's my job to say I'm going to hold the line on taxes," Nixon said.
11:37 a.m. When does Hulshof stop allowing Nixon to get away from his laundry list? Doesn't he need to try to move the ball here somehow?
11:37 a.m. Nixon just said FY 0 10. I mean, it's NPR, but really?
11:36 a.m. Hulshof: I'm saying no gas tax increase. Does that leave the door open?
11:34 a.m. The issue: Transportation. Hulshof talks about private sector help with parallel truck lanes on the Interstate. Opposed to raising gas taxes. Mentions proposal to eliminate gas tax, and find a new funding stream in general revenue.
11:32 a.m. BREAK --- HALFTIME
11:31 a.m. Caller PLEADS for specifics on economy, jobs. Nixon: We need to build a windmill plant in Missouri. Doesn't one of the Carnahan brothers do that? Hulshof: We need to build an oil refinery here. Didn't Steelman mention that first?
11:29 a.m. Kenny hits Nixon on trade, specifics. Nixon says not true. Says he opposed MOHELA . . . but that says nothing of his plan? Now he's getting into tapping Life Sciences, Value-added ag . . . but it's still a laundry list, goes back to Hulshof's record.
11:28 a.m. Kraske wasnts to know the difference here on job plans. Don't worry Steve, we haven't heard it either.
11:27 a.m. Good line for Hulshof: "Only industry that's supporting the Attorney General . . . is the litigation industry, which manufactures lawsuits."
11:26 a.m. Nixon's really not answering specifics on the economy here. He just says we need a Governor who reaches out to the new economy. The "how" seems to be missing here.
11:24 a.m. Unemployment? How do you turn it around? Jay: Governor has a lot of power. Notes education first, then talks about reaching out to wind mill, agriculture. Goes back to change. "You have to do both," Nixon says when asked about his "focus."
11:23 a.m. Hulshof health care plan will take $50 M out of general revenue. He likes a private sector, market-based approach. Not sure if he explained it as well as he needs to.
11:21 a.m. Hulshof: Jay's plan will cost $1200 a taxpayer.
11:20 a.m. Ooh, Kenny said "cuts," then quickly added "changes."
11:19 a..m. Hulshof: We'll cover more low-income Missourians than Nixon, and at a lower cost. "We don't want to set the reset button here." If changes had not been made, it would cost Missourians $1.6 B.
11:17 a.m. Medicaid, education . . . Kraske asks Nixon how he'll pay for it. Not really an answer here. Just says he'll draw down federal dollars and be smart with funds. Nixon emphasizes covering kids is important. Won't get nailed down on a timeline.
11:16 a.m. Nixon says he would restore the Medicaid cuts. No news here. I know it's proper, I just think it sounds odd to call a politician "General."
11:15 a.m. Jay only grades pass/fail. He says Bush has failed, and Kenny has been part of that.
11:14 a.m. Kenny: When you are more interested in unions, than creating jobs, that's not the right way. Grading Bush? Kenny gives him a C.
11:13 a.m. Hulshof targets the Holden Administration .. . a budget a billion dollars out of balance, money being withheld from education. Says there was no hand-wringing from Jay when Holden was around.
11:12 a.m. Nixon grading Blunt: Failed when it comes to health care, economy. We are guessing that's an F? "I do not give him a passing grade." Hulshof gives him a B.
11:11 a.m. Nixon goes to change, hits Hulshof on "Washington." Hits health care, college affordability.
11:09 a.m. 3 top priorities? Hulshof notes "no" vote on $700 billion dollar bailout. Says he wants to "make sure we want to keep our good climate here." Will Jay take him on on that?
11:08 a.m. Kraske goes soft first on b-ball. Who would win one-on-one. Kenny says he could school Jay. Jay seems to acknowledge it.
11:08 a.m. Kraske lays out the rules . . . no time-limits on answers!
11:03 a.m. Debate Set to Begin . . . In the news update . . . Wonder how close they are sitting next to each other.