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Warner vs. Gilmore

Two ex-governors, Mark Warner and Jim Gilmore, met in the kickoff of the campaign for retiring U.S. Sen. John Warner’s seat July 19. The Virginia Bar Association held its traditional candidates’ debate at The Homestead.

The debate was delayed 15 minutes apparently due to audio problems: the feed to Gilmore’s campaign room wasn’t working. But that wasn’t how it looked at first. VBA Mike Pace got things under way, business as usual. He introduced Gilmore, but he didn’t come in. That’s when the difficulty was discovered. Warner was standing in the wings and several times stepped into the room with a bemused stage shrug (see the pic), as if asking, “Where’s Jim?” Once he starting working the crowd, shaking hands and asking, “Are we going to have a debate today?”

Gilmore finally came in and promptly thanked the “Virginia State Bar,” adding there had been an audio problem. Oops. He righted himself immediately, though, with a reference to the “Virginia Bar Association” and the show went on.

Each guy had his sound bites working. Gilmore, who at times raised his voice, almost yelling into the mike, had a mantra railing at “typical Washington politicians.” Warner mentioned at least three times the fact that Virginia was voted the best-managed state on his watch.

By Paul Fletcher

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