Candidates face off in first gubernatorial debate

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The candidates for Indiana's governor took part in the first of three debates Wednesday. For an hour, the candidates - Republican Congressman Mike Pence, Democrat John Gregg and Libertarian Rupert Boneham - sparred on the issues facing Hoosiers.

The subtle differences surfaced immediately, including the candidates' thoughts on education.

"The one thing that we would do is that we would look at a pre-kindergarten program," Gregg said.

"Life is not a multiple choice. Life is an essay and we need to teach our children how to think and learn and comprehend, we can untie your teachers' hands if we move away from the standardized testing," Boneham said.

Pence talked about enhancing vocational education around the state. But he also posed a question for his competitors.

"How do we ensure that the next administration, in the next 4-8 years, produce honestly balanced budgets?" he asked.

"Congressman, you missed 86 percent of the votes. You've never passed a piece of legislation in your 12 years in Congress and you invoke Governor Daniels name. To kind of take a parody on a former Hoosier, I know Mitch Daniels. Mitch Daniels is a friend of mine. But Mitch Daniels shows up to work everyday," Gregg replied.

"You know, I've been named one of the hardest-working members of Congress. Maybe the reason why you didn't answer the question on fiscal responsibility is because for five of the six years that you were Speaker of the House, Indiana ran deficits," Pence told Gregg.

You could tell afterwards, the barbs hit home.

On the deficit:

"That is a United States Congressman talking to a state legislator about a budget being out of balance? I mean, I'm the one that's supposed to have the sense of humor. That's funny," Gregg said.

On the charge of not authoring any legislation:

"Protecting children on the Internet. I authored legislation giving farmers greater flexibility that eventually became law in a separate bill," Pence said.

And Rupert?

"If you want a change, you're going to have to elect a change and I most definitely am a change. I'm not the career politician. I've been given fame and fortune, I'm not looking for it," Boneham said. "I'm going to be living off this one for awhile. We're going to do it next week and then the week after. Have a great day."