Cuccinelli, McAuliffe take verbal swipes at each other at techno - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Cuccinelli, McAuliffe take verbal swipes at each other at technology town hall forum

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The two major party candidates in the governor's race in Virginia spent about two hours Thursday trying to convince business executives that "they" are the man for the job in November.

In his first minute of speech, Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe used the word "mainstream" in an effort to remind members of the Northern Virginia Technology Council that his Republican opponent, Ken Cuccinelli, has a career-long history of opposing abortion and same-sex marriage.

McAuliffe said such policies are not "welcoming" to businesses which can choose to locate in any state. McAuliffe made this promise to the tech executives: "If any of this legislation that we saw in the last several years (that made us a laughingstock on national television) [returns], I will stand as a brick wall to protect women to make sure their rights are not taken away from them. I trust women to make their own decisions."

McAuliffe also took a swipe at Attorney General Cuccinelli's attempt to investigate a former UVA climate scientist, an effort which ultimately was rejected by the courts.

"Whether you believe in climate change (or not) is not the issue," declared the Democratic nominee. "The issue is scientists, professors (that every university president wants to lure to their facility) may have options. They can go anywhere in the world. They're not going to come to the one state where your Attorney General is suing to get their work product."

McAuliffe also criticized Cuccinelli for generally opposing current Governor Bob McDonnell's bi-partisan transportation plan, designed to bring more revenue to transit and to gridlocked roadways in Northern Virginia.

Republican Cuccinelli promised to leave the transportation plan in place, and he offered this question to the business leaders: "Given this bill that passed this year, you know, there is going to be more money coming. Do you want ... 'Union Terry' spending that money or frugal Ken? And that's a huge difference."

Cuccinelli also dismissed the theory that businesses shun states with conservative social values, using businessman-Democrat Terry McAuliffe -- his opponent -- as an example: "The last time my opponent had a chance to plant a business somewhere, he put it in the bastion of tolerance: Mississippi. I mean, that wasn't a driving force, apparently."

Both candidates told the tech leaders the federal sequester may become permanent (or at least be extended for awhile). Both men warned that means the many Northern Virginia companies which rely on federal contracts may face a challenging economic environment over the next few years.

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