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Live: Virginia governor’s debate

Terry McAuliffe (D) and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) squared off Thursday night in the final televised debate of the Virginia gubernatorial campaign. With less than two weeks until voters go to the polls, the debate gave the candidates a high-profile opportunity to reach voters. Follow our live updates here.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, left, speaks during a debate with Republican challenger Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, right, at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., on Thursday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, left, speaks during a debate with Republican challenger Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, right, at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., on Thursday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Looking back at the final debate

The final debate of the Virginia governor’s race is in the books. It’s unclear what, if any, impact the debate will have on the race over the next 12 days. There were no major missteps by either candidate, no rhetorical knockout punches thrown and no contest-shifting moments.

In many ways, it played out much like the last debate, a showdown in McLean where both candidates tried to brand themselves and dismiss the other man on the stage. Like the last event, Cuccinelli entered the debate lagging in the polls, so he went on the offensive and stressed his experience. And, like last time, McAuliffe painted himself as the cooperative, mainstream candidate.

On issues like gun control, job creation, energy and more, the two candidates reiterated stances they had made time and time again. The two issues that came up the most often were gun control, which made sense given that the debate was hosted by Virginia Tech, and job creation. The latter issue was named by both candidates as the issue they would like to be remembered for if they are elected.

Head here for the latest story on the debate.

The Daily Show attends the debate

A crew from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” was in attendance at tonight’s debate, Ben Pershing reports.

Someone from the show livened up the post-debate gaggle offering the media a chance to ask McAuliffe questions:

The Cuccinelli campaign, meanwhile, doesn’t seem inclined to let their candidate have a similar experience:

In other words, expect a report on tonight’s debate — and the Virginia governor’s race in general — on “The Daily Show” at some point in the near future.

Fact Check: Health care, new taxes

Jeremy Borden reports:

Cuccinelli, a longtime opponent of the health-care overhaul known alternately as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, again criticized the law tonight. But has it been as terrible for hiring as Cuccinelli said? Some clarity.

The $1,700 figure has come up and will continue to come up again. In an ad, Cuccinelli’s campaign said McAuliffe’s plans would cost families of four $1,700 in new taxes.

The Twitter debate

While the candidates were debating on the stage in Blacksburg, their campaigns — and some number of staffers focused on social media — were dueling on Twitter.

As the debate went on, the tweets mirrored the topics being discussed and parroted lines from the debate:

And Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis, who was not allowed to participate, chimed in with critiques and this zinger:

Parsing the closing remarks

In their closing remarks, both candidates seemed to offer views at their campaigns at this stage in the game. Cuccinelli went on the attack, while McAuliffe draped himself in the cloak of Mark Warner’s legacy.

Post reporter Rosalind Helderman summed this up on Twitter:

Debate winds down

The debate has concluded, wrapping up shortly before 8 p.m. Stay with our liveblog for additional analysis and reports from the scene.

McAuliffe closing statement

McAuliffe cited the example of Mark Warner in his closing remarks, saying the state needs a governor in Warner’s mold to unite people and build the economy. He didn’t even mention Cuccinelli in his closing statement, instead focusing on what Warner accomplished and what, he implied, he would do as governor.

Cuccinelli closing statement

In his closing statement, Cuccinelli again went on the attack.

“I’ve spent my lifetime fighting for Virginians,” he said. By comparison, he painted McAuliffe as a partisan who fights only for his friends and his “failed big-government approach.”

Cuccinelli called himself someone who would fight for Virginians, another thing he said was a difference between him and his opponent. He closed by calling on McAuliffe to explain his plans without naming Cuccinelli.

Gun control a "fundamental difference"

McAuliffe, who has called for universal background checks, said the differing opinions on gun control is a “fundamental difference” in this race. He cited the overwhelming public support for universal background checks. A recent Washington Post poll found that 90 percent of people supported such universal checks.

Video: The opening statements

Cuccinelli and McAuliffe attacked one another during their opening remarks tonight in Blacksburg.

Cuccinelli stresses his experience

In what has become a familiar refrain, Cuccinelli again called himself the only candidate who wouldn’t need on-the-job training. This experience angle is something Cuccinelli has returned to multiple times to contrast himself with McAuliffe, who has never been elected to public office.

Fact Check: McAuliffe's car company

Terry McAuliffe has made a lot of claims about the promise of GreenTech and how many jobs it would create. None of his claims came true for Virginia, after McAuliffe chose to locate the company's plant in Mississippi. 

Several times in 2012, McAuliffe told reporters that 900 U.S. jobs would be created by the end of that year in Mississippi. But the firm has produced few, if any, cars, and hasn't come close to employing 900 people. A statement from the company provided to The Washington Post in September said GreenTech employs “more than 80 full time employees.” 

See more on this story: 

  
 
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe speaks during a debate at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., on Thursday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe speaks during a debate at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., on Thursday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The puppy moment

If you’re looking for one moment that may resonate after this debate, it’s this quote from Cuccinelli: “I like puppies. But I don’t bring a puppy home if I don’t have a plan to take care of that puppy.”

The puppy debate continues.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli speaks during a debate at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., on Thursday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli speaks during a debate at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., on Thursday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Looking for a signature accomplishment

Both candidates were asked what they hoped the signature issue of their four-year term as governor would be. They both cited the importance of creating jobs.

Cuccinelli identified his jobs plan, which he said would result in 58,000 new jobs.

“If there’s one thing I could get done, that’s the one,” he said.

McAuliffe similarly cited jobs, stressing the importance of employment and a diversified economy:

Meanwhile, absent candidate Sarvis chimed in:

The absent candidate

The next question focused on Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis, who was excluded from the debate. In their answers, both candidates seemed to have one constituency in mind — Sarvis’s voters.

Fact-checking the candidates

Jeremy Borden reports:

Here are takes on some of the issues that have arisen and claims the candidates have made.

Fighting the federal government is not necessarily popular among voters. Cuccinelli’s campaign has said he won’t talk much about the federal shutdown.

On the divorce question, The Fact Checker has weighed in. He says McAuliffe is mostly right on his claims about Cuccinelli’s divorce efforts.

Voters are suspicious of Cuccinelli on energy. Here’s why.

McAullife has flip-flopped on coal issues this campaign compared to last.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, left, speaks during a debate with Republican challenger Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, right, at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., on Thursday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, left, speaks during a debate with Republican challenger Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, right, at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., on Thursday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Cuccinelli's claims on abortion

Jeremy Borden reports:

PolitiFact Virginia has looked at Cuccinelli’s claims on abortion. At least some of them have been rated “false.”

Arguing over compromise

The candidates have pivoted to discussing issues of reproductive health, but their words are largely focusing on the nature of compromise.

McAuliffe, stressing that he trusts women to make their own health care choices, insisted that he would work with people across the aisle. He painted his opponent as an idealogue who wouldn’t work with Democrats. 

“My opponent will not compromise,” McAuliffe said.

Cuccinelli responded by citing his experience, saying that he was the only candidate who had worked as an elected official needing to compromise with other lawmakers.

“There is a time to fight and there is a time to compromise,” Cuccinelli said.

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