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Live-Blog: Virginia Governor's Debate

Beginning at 8 p.m. tonight, the Post will have live video, blogging and more from the debate between governor's race candidates Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell in Richmond.

For a look at what each candidate needs to accomplish tonight, read the preview by Rosalind S. Helderman and Anita Kumar.

UPDATE 6:18 p.m.: Apparently our TV partners will not be showing the debate live after all, which means we will be unable to stream it. C-SPAN appears to be streaming the debate live on its Web site, however. It also will be broadcast on WETA and C-SPAN3 in the D.C. area.

UPDATE 7:49 p.m.: We're getting started here. Questions for all of you out there: What could Deeds do to reverse the momentum in this race? How big a gaffe could McDonnell commit and still score a win on Nov. 3? Post your thoughts in the comments. Click through for the live-blogging.

9:00 p.m.: That'll wrap it up for tonight. Thanks for reading.

8:58 p.m.: As her mic fades, Judy Woodruff tells the candidates "that was very civil, thank you!"

8:57 p.m.: Deeds uses a summer camp analogy to play up his rural roots. Promotes the transportation and education plans referenced earlier, and also contrasts his own sometimes-awkward (but truthful, he says) style, with what he describes as McDonnell's "slick talk."

8:53 p.m. McDonnell hits his key issues in his closing statement, beginning by commiserating on the economic difficulty Virginians are experiencing, and then again ties Deeds to various federal proposals that he says will cost Virginians millions. Also says he has a record of moderate legislation as Attorney General, noting that 98 percent of his bills were supported by Deeds.

8:51 p.m.: A question on spreading tech development to increase job creation in rural Virginia. "We truly are the Silicon Dominion." McDonnell wants more support the tilapia farm, biodiesel production. (He says you can drink biodiesel? Aren't those different kinds of ethanol?) Deeds says expanding broadband Internet to every part of the state is key, and that McDonnell never created a job during his time in the Assembly (fact-checked here).

8:49 p.m.: Deeds: "The Boogie Man he's going to raise every time is taxes, and I've got no plan to raise taxes. ... I've always supported the elimination of that tax on farm properties." McDonnell says Deeds isn't being honest -- that the only way for him to fund his priorities is to increase taxes.

8:48 p.m.: McDonnell agrees that promotion of Virginia products is important, and moves into his support of property rights and repealing the estate tax. Points out that he's been endorsed by farmers groups.

8:46 p.m.: A Richmonder asks how the aging population of farmers are going to be able to retire comfortably and how younger people can be drawn into the field. Deeds says better support for exporting will make farming more profitable and more attractive to young people. He also says he wants to encourage niche local agriculture and points to "The Omnivore's Dilemma." Not the favorite book of larger-scale farmers, I'd imagine.

8:45 p.m.: Deeds says he'll renew the order and believed Kaine was well within his rights in renewing the policy. Again ties McDonnell's opinion back to his time on the board of Regent and some of the school's policies.

8:43 p.m.: Will McDonnell renew the policy against sexual-orientation discrimination in government hiring? McDonnell says he's lived by the letter of that executive order in hirings in the AG office but that he still believes the order is unconstitutional. "The General Assembly clearly had intended to occupy that entire field of employment discrimination."

8:41 p.m.: McDonnell points out that the real loophole in the Virginia Tech attacks, the mental health loophole, was stitched up quickly with his help. The current background checks and criminal penalties are plenty, he says.

8:40 p.m.: On to gun rights, which gives Deeds another opportunity to discuss his post-Virginia-Tech conversion on the gun-show loophole issue. He also mentions his positive rating from the NRA, which of course switched to supporting McDonnell in this race and are backing him on the air.

8:36 p.m.: Deeds insists that he does not support cap-and-trade and that McDonnell has been lying about that. Also again suggests that this is an election-year conversion for McDonnell. The latter follows up by saying editorial boards across the state have said Deeds is the deceitful one. Deeds says sides with him and that he doesn't support cap-and-trade legislation. We've tackled this one ourselves as well.

8:35 p.m.: Another point of difference as we get into climate change. McDonnell doesn't exactly say he agrees with the broad scientific view on climate change but says that's what the political environment is right now. Wants to use offshore drilling to fund research into green fuels. Post reporter Anita Kumar points out that the question was provided by Lisa Guthrie, who is with the League of conservation Voters, an organization that endorsed Deeds.

8:33 p.m.: McDonnell references his father, who suffers from Alzheimer's and is in a facility in Fairfax. Points out work he did in public safety, senior alert system. Says he'll double long-term care insurance tax credits, increase penalties for those who prey on seniors.

8:31 p.m.: Virginia's going to be getting older quickly. What can we do about that. Deeds says "This is a personal question for me; I live in one of the oldest demographic areas of Virginia." He says he checked out abuse problems in D.C., pursued prescription assistance, and ties it back into transportation. Pledges to get more medical and dental providers in rural areas.

8:28 p.m.:: Both of you have committed to producing thousands of new college graduates during your term. Where's the money for that going to come from? McDonnell says things were hunky-dory for the most part prior to the downturn, and that greater efficiency in administration can get more funding into the classroom. Deeds also speaks of efficiency reviews, across state government, to fund the $77-billion, two-year budget.

8:26 p.m.: "I think it's very important that we continue to expand disclosure laws," McDonnell says, but takes the Supreme Court's tack equating campaign donations to First Amendment speech. Shout-out for our good friend David Poole's operation at Virginia Public Access Project, who'll be taking questions from readers on this site on Wednesday.

8:25 p.m.: Deeds is stumbling a little more in the most recent couple of questions, including his current statement -- "I may not be the best speaker in the room" -- in support of campaign finance reform.

8:25 p.m.: Deeds cites the Post editorial that described McDonnell's funding plan as "phony baloney."

8:24 p.m.: McDonnell: "That's not leadership, that's not a plan."

8:21 p.m. The candidates now get into the core election issue, at least according to Northern Virginia, at least for Northern Virginians: Transportation. Amy Gardner has written extensively on the candidates' plans. More details are here: Deeds | McDonnell.

8:19 p.m.: McDonnell and Deeds are entirely in agreement on this one, apparently. McDonnell that says he changed his opinion after great study, and that in many states it hasn't had the intended effect -- and also says Deeds only backed bipartisan redistricting after the GOP took control of the assembly. The Post's editorial board has opined on this.

8:17 p.m.: The League of Women Voters's Olga Hernandez asks about the Census. What will be done to make sure the count, and the redistricting based on it, are fair? Deeds says the state's federal funding and representation are both based on accurate counts. And of course the redistricting question is right in his ballpark -- he's backed bipartisan redistricting for a while. Deeds says it's "another example of an election year conversion" for Bob McDonnell.

8:16 p.m.: Bouncing back a bit, here's a recent fact-checker on women's issues in the governor's race.

8:14 p.m.: "Only the poorest and sickest people in the country qualify for Medicaid in Virginia." Deeds notes the bottom-line numbers about inflating health care prices -- things need to be fixed, the only question is how. He says there are ways to improve outside of a federal-government takeover.

8:13 p.m.: McDonnell takes the opportunity to take a few swings at the national health care debate, saying he's worried that the current bill would cut into Medicaid funding. As costs have raised to 20 percent of the state budget, he says that Medicaid needs to be more efficient in Virginia and programs like SCHIP need better publicity.

8:12 p.m.: A reader says the state's per capita Medicaid spending is 48th in the nation. Do the candidates view this as a problem?

8:11 p.m.: McDonnell takes a shot at what has been popularly perceived as Deeds's negative campaigning.

8:08 p.m. Judy Woodruff becomes the first person in the nation to posit a "simple three-part question" as she asks for Deeds's opinion on wage discrimination and gender balance in his Cabinet. Deeds says it's a real point of disagreement with McDonnell, pointing to differing votes on wage equality legislation and McDonnell's participation on the Regent's University board. McDonnell gives his familial resume as counter-evidence. "Equal wages for equal pay is already the federal law."

8:07 p.m. Deeds: President Obama "is trying to do the best he can to restore balance and jump-start our economy."

8:06 p.m.: Deeds says McDonnell's way off on his history, citing the economic state of the commonwealth post-Gilmore.

8:04 p.m.: Which party's presidents and governors have been better for Virginia, McDonnell is asked at the outset? The Republican politicians helped businesses and universities, McDonnell says, and segues that into his own entrepreneurship plans. "My opponent has been one of the biggest tax increasers in the General Assembly."

8:03 p.m.: McGuireWoods, is a sponsor of both the debate's telecast on PBS, and of the candidates themselves. Also: The video is being streamed at NOTE: McGuireWoods did not sponsor the debate; they are a general sponsor of public television programming.

7:54 p.m.: Post reporter Anita Kumar sets the scene in Richmond: McDonnell and Deeds are going to be seated at a table next moderator Judy Woodruff. 120 members of the audience -- all of whom are guests of the candidates and sponsors -- are gathered in a circle around the table.

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  October 12, 2009; 9:00 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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A couple things are clear from that debate--(1) McDonnell is presidential material; (2) Deeds is risking his campaign on the notion that voters will believe in a straw man, some radical who, as the debate itself exhibited, doesn't exist.

Posted by: OlMcCreedy | October 12, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I think Bob McDonnell is a better liar than Creigh Deeds and that just may get him elected. I hope not.

From McDonnell all I heard tonight were Eric Cantor-like platitudes without his sick smile and Sarah Palin-like wink.

From Deeds, I saw someone who is intellectually honest with nuanced answers. Deeds cited specific legislative votes by McDonnell -- like equal pay vote -- and McDonnell simply ignored it.

What's McDonnell is hoping for is that voters will, too.

Posted by: fakevirginia | October 12, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

McDonnell ignored it? Actually, he explained in detail how he thought it was unconstitutional. I think you're mistaking McDonnell's answer with the Post's article about the debate, which sums up Deeds's argument, but ignores McDonnell's response.

It's obvious why Deeds didn't agree to more debates. McDonnell blew his doors off . . .

Posted by: OlMcCreedy | October 12, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

In fact, if all you read was the Post's article, I could see how you'd come away with that impression. Did you actually watch the debate?

(Also, McDonnell doesn't think equal pay is unconstitutional. He thinks that the executive order itself was unconstitutional, and the legislature should pass legislation for equal pay. Again, though, you have to have actually seen the debate to know that. You'd have no way of picking up on it if you just read the Post's article about the debate.)

Posted by: OlMcCreedy | October 12, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

OIMcCreedy, I could be wrong, but as I recall the "unconstitutional" comment from McDonnell was on Kaine's executive order barring discrimination based on sexual orientation, not on the equal pay issue. On the latter, he simply stated that it already was covered by federal law. Can go back and check the audio if you'd like.

Christopher Dean Hopkins
Deputy Editor, Local Politics and Government

Posted by: Christopher Dean Hopkins | October 12, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

You might be right about that. If so, my mistake. And the Washington Post article was more complete than I gave it credit for.

Posted by: OlMcCreedy | October 13, 2009 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Dirty Deeds is the best thing to happen to the Republican party in years..Oh, and thank you leftist water carrying, union bought and paid for Washington Compost. Your completely biased Deeds water carrying has been a great source of both amusement, and disappointment.

Posted by: SMWE357 | October 13, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

McDonnell is NOT presidential material. Sorry.

Posted by: profyle424 | October 13, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

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