Gloves come off in first Michigan post-primary gubernatorial debate

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WXYZ) - The much anticipated face-off between Democrat Gretchen Whitmer and Republican Bill Schuette had its share of political fireworks.

In the first of two scheduled debates, the two candidates vying to be Michigan’s next governor traded blows at WOOD-TV’s studio in Grand Rapids.

Out of the gates, moderator Rick Albin set the tone, asking both candidates about the newly surfaced 1989 video of Schuette, seemingly acting coquettish to a female reporter behind the camera.

“This was a planned parenthood Democrat hit job on me,” said Schuette, who characterized his behavior as a poor attempt at humor, adding he is embarrassed by the video.

“Bizarre, I don’t know what else to say about,” said Whitmer, who described learning about the video a few days before its release. She dismissed the video, saying, “Fact of the matter is, I don’t care about that video, I care about getting to the issues that really matter to the people of the state.”

From there, the two sparred on multiple topics, from Michigan’s education and medicaid expansion efforts, to the flint water crisis, roads, Michigan jobs, no fault insurance, immigration and the Larry Nassar scandal.

Schuette and Whitmer will face off once more this month before the November 6th election.

The debate is scheduled for October 24th in Detroit.

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