Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

October 26, 2012

Last debate has sparks, no KO blows

Gubernatorial candidates finish strong in Fort Wayne

FORT WAYNE — Democrat John Gregg came out swinging in the third and final gubernatorial debate Thursday, in what might have been his last, best chance to further narrow the race.

Republican Mike Pence, whose lead in the polls is still formidable, if not the double-digit lead it was a few weeks ago, sparred with Gregg but more often spoke around his opponents and directly to the audience.

Afterwards Pence called it a “civil and substantive debate.”

In opening remarks at the WFWA-TV studio in Fort Wayne, Gregg attempting to tie Pence to candidate Richard Mourdock’s rape comments from Tuesday’s Senate debate.

“You tried to separate yourself from your ticket mate, Richard Mourdock,” Gregg said. “Mike Pence can’t separate himself from the Tea Party, because he is the Tea Party.”

Pence took shots at Gregg over Gregg’s tenure as Indiana House Speaker, saying the state’s credit rating “was downgraded twice” shortly after Gregg left the position.

To Gregg’s contention of leaving a balanced budget in each of his six years as speaker, Pence rebutted: “You did it by using budget gimmicks. You raided reserves. You put off payments to local schools.”

The back-and-forth between Pence and Gregg was punctuated by Libertarian candidate Rupert Boneham, unorthodox as always, who suggested allowing county government to keep the income tax revenue now flowing to the state.

“We need to build from the local level up,” he said.

Boneham was also the only candidate to take a direct stance on the idea of teaching creationism in schools, saying it was something alternative schools could teach.

“We need to keep science science,” he said.

On Mourdock, Gregg hammered Pence in post-debate comments, saying Pence’s positions on abortion and Mourdock continue to shift.

“I brought up how Mike Pence has changed his position on abortion, and he didn’t deny it,” Gregg said. “Yesterday he called on Mourdock for an apology, and last night he went to a fundraiser with him. That’s the D.C. way.”

Pence said his position is to oppose abortion funding except in the case of rape, incest or the life of the mother; last year he only checked off the latter exception in an Indiana Right To Life survey.

The auto loans also provided a point of contention, as they have in previous debates, but this time Pence did more to clarify his position, saying he had favored “debtor in possession” financing, backed by federal loan guarantees, rather than direct government loans.

“I will never believe we can borrow and spend and bail our way back to a growing economy. I wanted a backstop, not a handout,” Pence said.

Gregg came up with another one-liner to punctuate his rebuttal point.

“If we’d have followed your plan, the [GM Fort Wayne plant] would be the world’s largest indoor flea market,” Gregg said. “It wasn’t a bailout, it was a loan to the auto industry. It was an investment in Indiana workers.”

The topic of medical marijuana was raised by one of the five Indiana residents selected to pose a question during the debate.

Gregg said he was against decriminalizing marijuana, but said, as a cancer survivor, he would consider medical use.

“I’d not be inclined to [sign a bill], but I’d be inclined to listen,” he said.

Pence was adamant in opposition, saying he’d seen lives sidetracked by marijuana, which he called a “gateway drug.”

Boneham suggested pharmaceutical companies might have a stake in preventing access to medical marijuana.

“Prohibition hasn’t worked. If it would help some of our suffering patients, we should let them have that plant,” he said.

The debate featured a Lincoln-Douglas section, in which each candidate was allowed a minute to pose a topic, then each opponent allowed two minutes to rebut before the originator of the topic was given a minute to close.

Gregg chose Pence’s opposition to the auto loans as his topic, while Boneham asked how the others would help non-profits reach out to the disadvantaged. Pence questioned Gregg on the deficit spending which left the state with more than $800 million in back payments owed to schools at the end of Frank O’Bannon’s governorship.

“When you were Speaker, five of the six years, Indiana ran deficits. The state had a $700 million deficit. When Mitch Daniels came in, we finally had an honest, balanced budget,” Pence said.

Gregg said it was “laughable a congressman would lecture anybody on fiscal responsibility.”

If neither candidate could make the other squirm too badly during the debate, it was up to the press to make them both uncomfortable afterwards.

Gregg declined to answer whether he’d allow creationism to be taught in schools, saying instead that “for the past 15 or 20 years, we’ve allowed the Bible to be taught as literature in public schools. And that’s where I’ll leave it.”

A further clarification wasn’t forthcoming.

Likewise Pence declined an answer when reporters asked him what he thought Richard Mourdock had to apologize for.

Mourdock created waves when he said Tuesday that all life is a gift from God, then went on to say “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

“I’m pleased he clarified his comments and apologized, and I think it’s time to move on,” was Pence’s statement.

Scott Smith can be reached at (765) 454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Spirits high at Brickyard 400 SPEEDWAY – Despite threatening skies and chances of rain, fans at the Brickyard 400 were not disheartened by the forecast. Brickyard 400 race day dawned with rain and fog, and the sun broke through the clouds at mid-morning. Fans expected the race to

    July 27, 2014

  • NWS - KT072614 - Five Below Grand Opening - pic Five Below opening draws crowds

    Mary Martin is the director of marketing and business development for Markland Mall and, with four grandchildren, she's also a consumer looking for cost-effective deals which still leave her — and the kids — feeling satisfied. Martin was able to purc

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mud battle 01 Mud Battle at Oakbrook Church challenges participants

    Challenges are nothing knew to Army Specialist Anthony Walton. An Afghanistan veteran, who was injured in 2011, Walton has endured some of the worst conditions imaginable. While in Afghanistan, Walton was shot more than 30 times in his left arm durin

    July 27, 2014 3 Photos

  • Indiana fruit crops take another weather beating BEDFORD, Ind. (AP) — The polar vortex that plunged Indiana into a deep freeze in January has taken a toll on the state's peach crop, and an April cold snap has done the same for apples. Orchard owners are bringing in peaches from out of state and sa

    July 27, 2014

  • 931 business 02 Opening of new US 31 appears to have had little effect on local business The new U.S. 31 bypass came with a litany of questions for local businesses. How would the changes in traffic patterns affect sales? How long would it take to see the full effect from that change in traffic patterns? What is the long-term prognosis f

    July 27, 2014 3 Photos

  • 1969 Kokomo grads share space stories On July 20, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped down the ladder of the lunar module “Eagle” and uttered those immortal words, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”Best friends Dave Hudson and Greg McCauley, who had just graduated f

    July 27, 2014

  • first dirilyte Dirilyte alloy: Definitely not a Kokomo first As with many of the so-called City of Firsts’ inventions, Dirilyte was definitely not a Kokomo first, Dave Broman, executive director of the Howard County Historical Society, said.“Dirilyte is a little more clear-cut,” Broman said of research in the

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ride to help fight breast cancer WABASH — The Moonshine Cowboys Ride for a Cause will be Saturday at Scotty’s Bar, 780 Manchester Ave. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and kickstands are up at noon.The cost is $20 per person, and proceeds will go to fight inflammatory breast cancer. I

    July 27, 2014

  • SCP KT 072714 Innovation Symposium pic IUK Innovation Symposium receives grant for 2015 program A grant from the Indiana University Women’s Philanthropy Council will allow more students to participate in IU Kokomo’s Innovation Symposium overseas travel program.The grant will cover travel expenses for eight to 10 students to spend three weeks in

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Continental picnic set for Saturday Former Continental Steel employees and their families will gather from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Rodgers Pavilion in Highland Park for a picnic. It is the 28th year for the get-together.Those who attend may bring a covered dish. Barbecued ribs, hot

    July 27, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries