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Gloves Come Off in Governor Debate

Jindal protects his health-care vote

With time speedily running out in the governor's race, front-runner U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal found himself defending his record on health care and ethics. In a candidate forum that featured some of the sharpest exchanges of the race.

Meeting Jindal for only the second face-to-face encounter of the campaign, Democratic state Sen. Walter Boasso attacked the Kenner Republican for voting not in favor of a popular children's health insurance program as a member of Congress.

Boasso moreover challenged Jindal to repudiate campaign advertisements that have recommended the other candidates in the race are corrupt.

The normally unflappable Jindal irately defended his vote not in favor of the program, and at one point overlooked a question so he could continue the back-and-forth with Boasso. The exchange encouraged one of the debate's organizers to step in and insist that he stick to answering the questions.

The debate, sponsored by KTBS-TV, Red River Radio and numerous regional chambers of commerce, was the second-to-last time that all four main candidates will meet face-to-face before the Oct. 20 primary. It also was the only forum devoted to issues particular to northwest Louisiana.

With hardly two weeks left before Election Day and Jindal leading the field by wide margins in all latest polls, the encounter was one of the last opportunities for Boasso, Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and independent John Georges to score points and elevate their standing.

The candidates used up the first 20 minutes or so politely answering questions about the significance of completing work on Interstate 49 and developing a new "cyber command" center at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, initiatives that all four candidates support.

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