Dalton, McCrory trade jabs in first TV debate

Posted October 3, 2012

— After months of trading barbs through ads and intermediaries, Republican Pat McCrory and Democrat Walter Dalton went toe-to-toe Wednesday night to debate issues from education spending to taxes to natural gas drilling.

The debate was the first of three between the two top gubernatorial candidates before the Nov. 6 election.

A WRAL News poll released Tuesday shows McCrory, a former Charlotte governor, leading Lt. Gov. Dalton by a 51 to 39 percent margin. Libertarian candidate Barbara Howe had 3 percent support, and 7 percent of voters remain undecided.

Trying to close that gap, Dalton went on the attack, accusing McCrory of taking pay raises in Charlotte during the economic meltdown and shilling for natural gas companies.

McCrory sidestepped the jabs, focusing on his plans to reform state government and the public school system. He also counter-punched at Dalton, calling one of his online ads "inexcusable" for accusing McCrory of being insensitive to blacks.

Both candidates stuck to themes they have sounded off on for months on the campaign trail and television ads. Dalton pushed his jobs plan that is heavy on education spending and worker training, while McCrory said taxes need to be cut to make North Carolina competitive.

"He would have the biggest corporations paying no tax in North Carolina," Dalton said. "He would reallocate (the tax burden) and shift it to the middle class, working families and our senior citizens on fixed incomes, and I don't think that's going to create any jobs whatsoever."

"There's only one person up here who's proposed new taxes, and that the lieutenant governor, along with Gov. (Beverly) Perdue," McCrory responded, citing their call for extending a temporary sales tax increase to protect public schools from budget cuts.

Education spending also brought retorts from both candidates. After McCrory discussed his plan to focus resources on getting students to read at grade level before the fourth grade, Dalton noted that he supported cuts Republican lawmakers made to North Carolina's early childhood education programs.

McCrory shot back that Dalton didn't stand in the way of school spending cuts during his first two years as lieutenant governor, when Democrats controlled the General Assembly, or as a state senator.

"The rhetoric does not match the real facts," he said. "The whole debate (in recent years) was about the budget and not results, and that's what we need to start talking about.

The sharpest words between the candidates came when discussing an ad the Dalton campaign posted online last week in which several black politicians and others saying McCrory is insensitive to them.

"It was the low point of North Carolina politics," McCrory said. "I treat people as individuals, not as monolithic groups."

Dalton said the ad was in response to a McCrory ad that used a former Wilson County sheriff who lost in a racially charged election.

"If he finds this offensive, it's because he has offended," he said.


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  • miketroll3572 Oct 4, 2012

    If they would just show some interest in things like the economy, infrastructure, those types of things, rather than beat that old "socially conservative" drum to death trying to impress the over 55 rural white voter, they might garner some attention. Otherwise, they should be avoided at all costs.

    You libs have been in controll for over 50yrs in NC. Wake up and smell what you are shoveling. This state is in a wreck because of foolish policies of the liberals. Time for a change for sure.

  • miketroll3572 Oct 4, 2012

    i've seen 1st graders have a more spirited debate than those 2 -- i'll vote independant thk u.

    Too bad you have not realized that is throwing your vote away. Wake up. Never has a independent been elected.

  • miketroll3572 Oct 4, 2012

    Dalton looked like a deer in the headlights.

  • baldchip Oct 4, 2012

    Dalton looked out of place and uncomfortable. Despirate politicians will say and do most anything. U-tube add is surely despiration-and will not work. That's an insult to the intelligence of NC voters.

    Pat for Governor.

  • JustAName Oct 4, 2012

    "about the fraud waste an mis-mangamnet of the taxpayers funding that is going on an has been for years within the ncdot" - pbjbeach

    The entire NC government is corrupt to the core. It isn't just the DOT. 100 years of "Good Ol' Boy" network gone uncheck has led to this. A clean sweeping across all departments is needed.

  • livinggood2 Oct 4, 2012

    If you want Bev Perdue #2 Vote for Dalton....If you want NC to Succeed Vote for McCrory.

  • rsgolo Oct 4, 2012

    I have one thing that should tell every one of you how bad it would be if you vote for Dalton:

    Bev Perdue

  • driverkid3 Oct 4, 2012

    geosol::::Thanks for confirming my vote AGAINST the REPUBLICAN.

    I think anyone that has been reading GOLO knows for a fact that if the democrat said and proved that they were going to nuke this state, you would still vote for them. So you don't have to worry about anyone even thinking you woule vote for any republican even if they gave you a pot of gold.

  • tran Oct 4, 2012

    Some choice. Either Dalton will tax us into the poor house or McCrory will sell us out to powerful business lobbies.

  • beasley27607 Oct 4, 2012

    Once again--The North Carolina Governors Race is one with the worst possible candidates. Why does this position seem to attract the worst of the worst? Because--we the citizens keep letting guys like these two run without anyone to compete who really cares about our citizens and the issues--healthcare, immigration, commerce, government corruption, the list goes on...