Mike Beebe started out a little stronger than Asa, but he started faltering about halfway. Asa was a little stilted at first but warmed up and by the ending remarks blew Mike away.
In the opening remarks, Mike Beebe channeled John Kerry "We can do Better". Lord, aren't you just tired of hearing that.
Taxes. The issue was the taxes, mostly the grocery tax. Mike said that he'd reduce the sales tax on utilities for industry. Asa said that one of the problems with recruiting industry was Arkansas' high sales and income tax rates. He'd reduce those. Winner Asa!
Grocery Tax. Asa said that Mike's ads were mis-leading because they said he'd cut the grocery tax. Asa said since Mike's proposal was for a gradual tax reduction it was an "empty promise". There was no guarantee that the tax would be totally eliminated. Asa would eliminate all grocery tax now. He said it was unfair for struggling families and it could be replaced by growth in the state. Ahhh, yes, didn't you just love Mike's come back on that. "There you go again". Pathetic, Mike. You just aren't going to measure up to The Man.
On a question about a state lottery, Asa quickly said he's against it and gambling casinos and returned to the grocery tax. Mike responded by remarking on Asa not being registered to vote in Arkansas in previous years. Mike did a major diss on Asa's public service at the national level.
Illegal immigration. Mike did say enforce the laws, and for the state to work with the feds. He laid most of the responsibility for illegal immigration to the federal government. Asa, while agreeing to partnering with the feds, he proposed a greater role by the state. Training state police, no illegals hired by the state or state contractors, document reform and giving tools to help employers.
Security. Asa stated a Homeland Security Advisor, Emergency preparedness, and partnering with counties. Mike stressed preparedness at the local level, especially after Katrina. (I think he just admitted that Mayor Ray Nagin was ill-prepared. I wonder if he'll back-pedal and declare that it's Bush's fault.)
Closing. Mike realized he made a big mistake. He apologized and compliment Asa for his public service. After that, I'm sorry, all I heard was "blah, blah, blah". Asa, meanwhile, went in for the kill. Limited government, lower taxes, pro-life, support local rural schools, meth, and property rights. Slice and dice!