Ed Murray, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Both gubernatorial candidates Democratic Lt. Gov. Jari Askins and U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin were in close agreement on most issues raised Tuesday during a forum hosted by the State Chamber, but they had different ideas on how to reach those goals.
On the topic of education, both repeated their opposition to State Question 744 and were asked to describe it in one word:
"The word I would use is well-intentioned," Askins said.
Fallin took a different approach on the issue.
"As it relates to the funding in the legislature just, irresponsible," Fallin said.
But most questions in a forum related with business and government funding.
Both promoted their ideas for economic development while admitting it will likely be hard to find the money in a budget that projects more cuts to state agencies next year.
"If every legislator can be involved in the process, then I believe we have the chance to look, in depth, at every agency, line by line and be able to figure out which programs and services are not the core mission of those agencies," Askins said.
"Focusing on the priorities and spending in government, making government more efficient, more effective, eliminating waste and duplication," Fallin said.
But it wasn't until after the forum that the national media firestorm over motherhood was addressed. Fallin said she in no way was taking a shot at Askins.
"Absolutely not, I have tremendous respect for my opponent and that's what makes me who I am," Fallin said.
Askins responded saying, "None of Oklahoma's governors have been mothers. So, I think it's just something that came out. I'm sure some political consultant said for her to say it and that's what happened," Askins said.
Both indicated that the issue really wasn't much of an issue at this stage, at least for voters in Oklahoma, and that policy ideas and leadership qualities that will best get the job done are much more important.
Askins also hinted she still has a surprise or two planned during this final week of the campaign. It may come Thursday night in Tulsa during their final debate.