The debate has ended
Be sure to vote on or before Nov. 2.
This blog will provide coverage of the Ballantine-Easley debate at WRAL-TV as it is recorded from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15. The debate will air on WRAL-TV and the WRAL NewsChannel at 7 p.m. The debate will replay on the NewsChannel at 9 p.m. Friday. Check WRAL.com for a schedule of additional replays. A transcript of the debate and a video stream will be available on WRAL.com at 8 p.m. Friday.
Ballantine: "We are permitted to do some business at our legislative building... This is an absolute smear campaign."
Easley: "I didn't know about it until I read about it in The News & Observer."
Easley accused Ballantine of "shaking down lobbyists."
For background on this issues, read the N&O story online.
BALLANTINE ON EASLEY
1. Support governor on tough decisions on clemency
2. "He and his wife are not bad people." He has scandals around him, though.
EASLEY ON BALLANTINE
1. Voting for teacher pay increases in '98, '99, '00. Regret he didnt do it in '01, '02 and '03
2. I like Lisa (Ballantine's wife).
In regard to Ballantine's answer to the question, Easley said it was akin to telling someone, "For a fat guy, you don't sweat too much."
Easley: "I do not favor it. I have fought it."
Ballantine: "That's my position exactly."
Easley: Yes. Started turnpike commission.
Ballantine: Reluctantly supports toll roads.
PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS:
Easley: "Absolutely not." Drains funds from public schools.
Ballantine: "I do not support vouchers."
TAX CREDIT FOR CHILDREN
In response to Crabtree's question....
Easley: Supports allowing local sheriff's departments to help enforce immigration laws.
Ballantine: Agrees. "We need to be fighting terrorism. We need to be fighting illegal immigration."
Ballantine: "I support immigrants, but they need to be legal." Voted against bill to make it easier for immigrants to get driver's licenses. Illegal immigrants are draining resources.
Easley: Need to give everyone a chance if they agree to play by the rules. "He's (Ballantine is) blaming me for 9/11 now." Easley said it was not fair that he was being criticized for being soft on immigration issues, which are really a federal matter.
Easley doesn't think Ballantine can fund promised raises for state employees. "I want to give state employees a fair raise... but I am not going to lie to them." Raise will cost $1.5 billion, and has pledged cutting taxes to the tune of $1.2 billion.
Ballantine: When in General Assembly, I did try to amend budget to give teachers and state employees a pay raise, but it was defeated.
Ballantine says he can find $1 billion in cost savings in state government to help fund pay raises.
Crabtree: Why not raise tax now that quota buyout has been passed by Congress?
Ballantine: Does not think taxes should be raised.
Easley: Yes, raising taxes would help curb teen smoking. And yes, it would help with health care costs associated with smoking. But there's not enough support in the General Assembly for a tax increase to pass.
Crabtree: Should N.C. make it easier for the poor to get drugs to treat HIV/AIDS?
Easley: "I don't think we have the money to do that right now."
Ballantine: "We do need to raise the threshhold there."
Crabtree: Would you cut Medicaid?
Ballantine: No. Just need to modernize the system.
Easley: "We have the software. It is effective. It is in place."
"He's the tax and spender. I'm the fiscal conservative." Ballantine believes he can wring savings out of state government.
Can you guarantee that lottery proceeds will go to education, Crabree asks. Yes. To make progress in education, we're going to need an additional revenue source. We're losing money to other states, he says. Wants to use money to reduce class size and help local governments with school construction.
Ballantine: A lottery is bad public policy. Says he would veto lottery bill if approved by the General Assembly. "It would generate less than 1 percent of our annual state revenues."
Easley said he had a hole to dig out of because of big spending before he took office. Ballantine's history has been spending in good times, Easley said.
Absolutely not, Ballantine says.
Yes, we raised teacher pay and put $500 million in a rainy-day fund. "That was good smart fiscal policy."
Easley inherited a recession, just like George W. Bush. But Bush has cut taxes and Easley has not.
EASLEY: Budget he inherited was four years of growth of 42 percent, highest growth in decades. Ballantine was part of that. Ballantine voted for three straight budgets that increased spending $800 million each year. Easley said he had to find $1.5 billion to cut in 5 months.
"The budget is now balanced, and I am pleased we are where we are."
The question is about taxes. Crabtree: Should it be the dominant campaign issue?
The debate will last one hour. Questions will be directed to candidates on an alternating basis. No strict time limits are being followed. No opening statements, but one-minute closing statements.
The candidates are seated at a table, close to one another, across from Crabtree, the moderator.
The candidates are now posing for photographs before the debate gets under way. Only the candidates and moderator will be in the room once the debate begins. Reporters and campaign staff will be watching the debate on video monitors in a nearby studio.
Mike Easley is now in Studio A and is getting ready for his debate with Patrick Ballantine.
This second debate between Democratic Gov. Mike Easley and Republican challenger Patrick Ballantine is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. It is being held in Studio A of WRAL-TV in Raleigh. The debate is being taped without interruption and will air tonight at 7 p.m. on WRAL and on other stations throughout the state.
This blog will report in real time on the exchanges between modertator David Crabtree and the two candidates.