Culver, Branstad Clash in Final Debate

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In their final debate, Democratic Gov. Chet Culver accused Republican Terry Branstad of misleading voters and pushing for multiple tax hikes, while Branstad blamed Culver for a sour economy and bungling at the top levels of state government.

The Thursday debate was the third meeting between the candidates for governor.

Both candidates were polite but aggressive, with Branstad at one point turning to Culver and saying, "You've tried hard, but the results speak for themselves. The status quo is not good enough."

Culver responded that outside groups rate Iowa high for its business friendliness and government efficiency. And he warned that voters shouldn't believe Branstad's promises, noting that he pledged not to raise taxes during his first campaign for governor, then signed a sales tax increase after being elected.

The debate was sponsored by the Des Moines Register and Iowa Public Television.