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McCaskill, Blunt argue before and during debate

October 21, 2004
By: Evan Godt
State Capital Bureau

With one round of debates down, and one more to go, the candidates for Missouri governor gear up for one more showdown. Evan Godt has the story from Jefferson City.

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Monday's debate between Claire McCaskill and Matt Blunt was the result of weeks of heated discussion between the two campaigns. Both candidates accused the other of making the process of choosing debate times difficult.

In an interview before Monday's debate, Blunt said McCaskill has been hard to work with from the beginning of the campaign.

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Contents: We've been really frustrated. We, right after the primary, contacted her campaign to set up a debate schedule, that's always occurred in the past.

Blunt said after the primaries that he was willing to offer McCaskill a debate any time or place but he himself has declined invitations to debate in St. Louis and Columbia. McCaskill has grown skeptical of his promises to debate.

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Contents: Does anybody think he's serious? I can't imagine. They've been giving lip service to this for months and they won't show up.

Both candidates have said they feel a televised debate is a great way for Missourians to be exposed to the campaigns. McCaskill said the debates should help Missourians decide who best can handle a complicated job like being governor.

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Contents: I think its incredibly important. This is a big important job and this is a job interview.

In the first debate, as well as throughout the campaign season, McCaskill has emphasized her experience while Blunt has promised change.

Blunt's campaign is focused on providing sweeping changes to Missouri health care, education, and legal systems.

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Contents: I believe Missourians want change and you can not fix a broken state government by electing a new governor who agrees with the current state governor on every single policy issue.

Blunt says voters should know that he has valuable experience not only in state government but in the Navy and private sectors as well. He said that he has reformed Missouri elections and cut costs in the Secretary of State's office.

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Contents: Those are real results. They result in taxpayer savings, not just a report that gets ignored and never implemented.

McCaskill has served in the Missouri House as well as being Jackson County prosecutor before becoming State Auditor.

McCaskill defended the work she has done as auditor.

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Contents: My audits are so effective that senator Kit Bond asked me to come to Washington D.C. and testify in front of the senate committee on aging.

The candidates are scheduled to meet in another televised debate Friday night in Springfield.

From the state Capitol, I'm Evan Godt.