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Personal attacks punctuate final McKenna, Inslee debate

Bettina Hansen
The Seattle Times

The fifth and final debate between Washington’s candidates for governor was punctuated by personal attacks. Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna met in Seattle Tuesday night. The format encouraged them to engage each other.

One of the most personal exchanges came when the candidates had a chance to pose a question of each other. Republican McKenna asked Inslee to explain why the Democratic candidate has yet to pick up a single daily newspaper endorsement.

Inslee responded that he doesn’t work for the newspapers.

“The kind of things that I’m standing up for, I think are where the people are in the state which is help to make sure we get healthcare, which my opponent has tried to eliminate, an educational budget that is based on job creation.”

When it was McKenna’s turn, he offered a biting, personal critique of the former Congressman.

“The Washington, DC mentality that you bring to this election where you make these false attacks, you bring little depth to your analysis of the problems.”

Both candidates used the final debate to try to close the deal with voters. Inslee vowed to be the “disruptive force” he believes Olympia needs. McKenna said it’s time for a change in the party in power after 28 years of Democratic governors.

The debate was hosted by KING TV and the Seattle Times.

On the Web:

Full debate video (

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.