Right off the batt, the candidates were asked about the breaking financial crisis. Warner placed the blame squarely on Washington, saying the Bush administration and various regulatory agencies has been "asleep at the switch" over the past six to eight years. Warner suggested a single agency would be better than a "mishmash" of agencies with sometimes conflicting goals and powers.
Gilmore flipped flopped as fast as John McCain has since declaring the economy "fundamentally sound" earlier this week. Gilmore, has long advocated privatization and less regulation, came out for more oversight of the mortgage industry. He missed with his jab when repeating the tired old GOP mantra about Barack Obama raising taxes (yes, you should be worried about paying your fair share if you make more than $250,000 a year).
The candidate's sparred over off-shore oil and other issues, but in the end, Mark Warner emerged the winner as Gilmore never came close to landing a punch. As one of the most successful modern Virginia governors, Warner is known as a straight talking, pragmatic political leader who solves problems across party lines. He has nearly 100% Democratic support and is attracting the vast majority of independents and many Republicans.
On the other hand, Gilmore's tenure as governor was a disaster as he ran the state budget into the ground. His politics of division and fear got him elected once, but won't again. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Virginians won't get fooled again.