Bernero, Snyder Square Off in Only Debate

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WIXOM, Mich. (AP) -- Democratic gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero on Sunday accused Republican Rick Snyder of being an investor in a high-tech company that opened a new office in China this summer, questioning whether the Ann Arbor businessman is really creating jobs in Michigan or just overseas.

"My opponent has sent hundreds of job overseas," the Lansing mayor said in the only debate between the two candidates. "The workers, they had the chance to stand in the unemployment line. What did you give up?"

Snyder said Bernero was just flinging mud.

"I'm a positive person, and unfortunately we've had too many negative comments," Snyder said. His campaign produced a release from Discera Inc. President and CEO Bruce Diamond that said the company's China office employs five people and that none of those were jobs eliminated in the United States.

Both candidates wore dark suits, white shirts and blue ties. Bernero wore a flag pin on his lapel, while Snyder wore a pink ribbon, showing he supports the fight against breast cancer. Snyder's wife, Sue, is a breast cancer survivor.

A new News 10 poll released Sunday showed Snyder with a 20-point lead just three weeks before the Nov. 2 election. Bernero tried to use the debate to narrow the gap by making Snyder look like a businessman who has become personally wealthy while caring little about workers at the companies he has run or invested in.

Snyder tried to paint Bernero as a "traditional politician" who won't make the changes necessary to lower Michigan's 13.1 percent unemployment jobs or ending the political partisanship and divisiveness in Lansing.

Snyder, Bernero and a trio of third-party candidates are running on Nov. 2 to succeed Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who can't run again because of term limits.

Bernero ran an underfunded and largely invisible campaign during the Democratic primary. The Lansing mayor beat House Speaker Andy Dillon handily but came out of the primary still largely unknown.

Snyder put $6.1 million of his own money into his primary race in which he bested four more conservative opponents. He promotes himself as "one tough nerd."

The hourlong debate took place at the Detroit Public Television studio. Debate sponsors and media watched on a large screen in a nearby room.

Two editorial page editors asked questions, Nolan Finley of The Detroit News and Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press. The Center for Michigan, a nonpartisan group based in Washtenaw County, hosted the debate.


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  • by Ricardo Location: Lansing on Oct 11, 2010 at 02:56 PM
    What I saw of the debate, Snyder did a very good job answering the questions. He didn't blow smoke, and his replies were on point and made sense to me. Unless something big changes, Snyder will be getting my vote! Thank You. Ricardo
  • by minerva Location: holt on Oct 10, 2010 at 06:47 PM
    ROFL. Berneros bag of dirty tricks backfired. He plays voters for fools with half-truths - and sadly he's often right (like making Dillon - the lead Democrat in the House - out to be a non-Democrat). Glad to see Snyder's smarter. (BTW: He wasn't Gateway's CEO when they outsourced, either - he was called back after that CEO ran it to the ground.) Lansing's only serial killer was under Bernero - even his own daughter's boyfriend was murdered earlier this year. Lansing is in disrepair, putting up frivolous junk like benches to watch cars get off the highway. When it's the Nerd vs. the Turd, I'm goin w/Snder.
  • by K Location: Lansing on Oct 10, 2010 at 06:42 PM
    I liked Snyder. He was positive, motivated and spoke well. He stayed on point and has some fresh ideas being a successful businessman that I believe will help Michigan. Bernero was typical Bernero. A fast talking, fingerpointing, negative politician. We got to hear him whine again about only getting one debate ...what a waste time during the one and only debate he had! Thank you Snyder for sparing us from his whining during any other debates. Bernero keeps talking about how great Lansing is...really?? I live in Lansing, I'm not seeing what he's glorifying himself as doing. Where are these 6000 jobs he speaks of? People are unemployed, roads suck and the schools are deteriorating. I'm ready for a change 'cause this isn't working. Snyder was cool under fire...Bernero was like a chihuahua nipping at his heals. Snyder gets my vote.
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