Debate resolves little in GOP governor's race

Houston Chronicle:

Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison clashed repeatedly in the first Republican gubernatorial debate, speaking over one another and all but calling the other a liar.

Activist Debra Medina pushed for a place apart, describing Perry and Hutchison as politicians who embrace big-government solutions to Texas' problems. After one overlapping exchange of sniping between Hutchison and Perry, Medina expressed frustration.

“This squabbling isn't getting us anywhere,” Medina said.

The debate was a key exchange between the candidates leading into the March 2 primary. Only one other debate currently is scheduled for the Republicans. There is no Democratic debate scheduled between the front runners, former Houston Mayor Bill White and millionaire businessman Farouk Shami.

Perry, as the incumbent, was the one to beat going into the debate. And while he repeatedly showed he was willing to take the contest to Hutchison and Medina, they would not back down.

The senator went after Perry's veracity time and again, while he painted Hutchison as out of touch from her years in Washington.

When the challengers criticized his job growth record, Perry said he has created a positive economic atmosphere that has people moving to Texas from other states.

“It really wears me out that we have two people on this stage here who want to tear Texas down,” Perry said.


That may be Perry's best line of attack. The description of the debate in the Chronicle does not paint an attractive picture of any of the candidates. Thankfully, there is only one more debate. I am not optimistic that it will elevate the dialog. The candidates need to be focusing on how they can improve Texas and not how they can tear each other down. They are only helping the Democrats with this kind of performance. Sen. Hutchison needs to go back to her theme of "we can do better." Perry needs to use a theme of keeping Sen. Hutchison in Washington where she can work for Texas.

Based on this report no one won this debate.

The NY Times has comments from several papers in Texas.


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