DES MOINES, Iowa--With their first debate 72 hours away, the two major party candidates in Iowa's race for governor declined to engage in much verbal sparring.
State Senator Jack Hatch, the Des Moines Democrats, perhaps came the closest. Asked whether he had ever stood next to his opponent, Republican Governor Terry Branstad, Hatch said, "I sat across from Terry Branstad once. And did all the talking, so this will be different."
But for the most part, both Hatch and Branstad, declined to criticize the other before Thursday's first debate on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Branstad said, "I don't do that...no, that's not the way I operate."
And Hatch said, "No. No. I think the Iowa tradition is to be fair and be ready and be calm. I think I've done enough criticism of the governor in the past year."
Branstad, of course, has been through debate preparations often, since this is his sixth campaign for governor. Hatch said he had never debated a candidate before.