Deal and Carter have testy opening showdown | www.myajc.com

16
Sep

Deal and Carter have testy opening showdown | www.myajc.com

The forum on Monday was supposed to focus on education, but Gov. Nathan Deal and Democrat Jason Carter also traded jabs over economic philosophy and taxing policy in a touchy first showdown between the candidates. The governor even took a shot at his opponent’s famous grandfather.

The event, the first time the two rivals have shared the stage this campaign, offered each a showcase to press their education agenda. The governor said he preserved k-12 funding and engineered the largest education funding increase in seven years, while Carter attacked the funding system as a tired “shell game” that hurts students.

The Professional Association of Georgia Educators’ forum wasn’t meant to be a debate, but there was a constant attack-and-volley between the two candidates. They bickered over education funding, a potential charter school expansion and Georgia’s stubborn jobless rate. And they saved some of their harshest words for after the forum.

The brunt of the argument focused on a familiar topic to both candidates: Carter’s pledge to create a separate education budget that he said would ensure a significant boost in classroom funding. Deal called it empty rhetoric and took Carter to task for voting three times for budgets that included education funding cuts he now criticizes.

“Rhetoric without results will never educate a child,” Deal told the crowd of educators. “This campaign is too important to be allowed to be dictated by simple rhetoric and promises. You need to know the hard answers.”

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