The three candidates for Governor of New Jersey -- Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine, Republican Chris Christie, and independent Chris Daggett -- met for a debate tonight, with a lot of substantive discussion on the issues facing the state. In a race marked by bitter personal attacks, this debate for the most part featured arguments about the issues themselves.
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An interesting pattern emerged that when candidates fought each other, in almost all cases it was between Christie and another one of the participants. While Corzine and Daggett stated different positions on various issues, for the most part they didn't take each other on directly. The real target of their attacks was Christie.
The most memorable exchange came when Daggett said to Christie: "I gotta buy you a calculator, Mr. Christie, because your numbers don't add up. They never add up. You have no plan, no plan at all." Daggett then said that he himself has a good plan on taxes and the budget, and he challenges anyone to come up with a better one that has real substance.
When it came time for Christie's turn, he shot back: "I'm more than happy to take Mr. Daggett's calculator. I'd like to give you a dictionary, because only you could take a $4 billion tax increase and call it a tax cut."
When Corzine's turn came again, he chimed in. "Let me agree with Mr. Daggett -- Mr. Christie doesn't seem to get the arithmetic right," said Corzine, citing as one example how Christie said people are leaving the state, when in fact the population is growing. "It's just misleading, talking down the state is not a great idea. In fact, we ought to have a positive view."
Some more highlights, after the jump.