Schuette, Whitmer Take Off Gloves In Spirited First Debate

Editor's note: Vanguard Senior Vice President Jen Eyer comments on the first gubernatorial debate

Bill SCHUETTE and Gretchen WHITMER verbally battered each other in tonight's first general election gubernatorial debate, with familiar charges of the Democrat's alleged "extreme agenda" and the Republican's perceived tendency of only doing his job when the "cameras are rolling."

The two skilled debaters quickly pivoted off of WOOD-TV moderator Rick ALBIN's plea for specifics to well-trodden, vague plans to fix roads and reduce auto insurance rates.

On the issues, neither necessarily broke new ground. Whitmer talked about raising $3 billion in new money for the roads. Schuette scoffed that this was code for Whitmer wanting to "raise your darn taxes” as part of her "economic collapse plan." His plans consisted of a Department of Transportation audit, road guarantees and more D.C. money.

The two did agree on some issues. Whitmer and Schuette both vowed to bring back the income tax exemption on pension income (eliminate the pension tax) and protect medical coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. But with each consistently lobbing bombs at the other, the viewer was forced to wave off the smoke to see the similarities. "Whitmer carried the day, no question," said Jen EYER of Vanguard Public Affairs. "She had a vision that she articulated with specifics to back it up . . . (Schuette) looked tired, not up to the task, robotic, canned. He repeated the same hits over and over again. He was kind of like a mannequin and his answers were not very convincing."

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