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Schuette, Whitmer Clash In Final Debate Before Election

Bill Schuette, Gretchen Whitmer
Twitter/WOOD-TV
Bill Schuette, Gretchen Whitmer

Republican Bill Schuette and Democrat Gretchen Whitmer clashed often Wednesday in their final debate before the election of Michigan's next governor, as he warned against going "backward" with her "extreme" agenda and she blamed his rhetoric for fostering a political environment in which pipe bombs were mailed to prominent public servants.

This is a desperate campaign that is flailing to stay alive - Gretchen Whitmer

Schuette, who has trailed in polls, repeatedly said Whitmer, a former legislative leader, would raise taxes for her priorities such as fixing the roads.

"If her economic plans go forward, let me put a warning label on everything — your job is in jeopardy because higher taxes, more mandates would stop growth and take us back to the lost decade," he said during the hourlong debate hosted by WDIV-TV in Detroit. At one point, he called Whitmer "Jennifer" — a reference to former Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who served from 2003 to 2010 — saying "it's easy to get them confused."

If her economic plans go forward, let me put a warning label on everything, your job is in jeopardy - Bill Schuette

Whitmer called Schuette's allegations "nonsense" after he accused her of wanting to disband U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, and of making Michigan a sanctuary state.

"This is a desperate campaign that is flailing to stay alive," she said, noting the sudden wave of pipe bombs targeting prominent Democrats and CNN. "For this guy to stand here and call me extreme and imply all sorts of things is ridiculous, and that's the kind of rhetoric that has created this ugly environment in this country. I am running against that, too."

Schuette and Whitmer met for their first head-to-head debate 12 days ago . They have sparred over health care and other issues in their race to succeed outgoing Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who is term-limited.

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