Gubernatorial candidates on the offensive

Phoenix, AZ – One day after the primary, the top gubernatorial
contenders already are testing out the messages -- and
the sound bites -- they believe will resonate with
voters and win the election. Arizona Public Radio's
Howard Fischer reports.

For Republican Len Munsil, the issue on which he
believes incumbent Janet Napolitano is most vulnerable
is illegal immigration. He said Arizonans should not
accept her argument that stopping people from entering
the country illegally is the job of the federal

(We have a governor who has failed to address the issue
of border security despite the incredible effect it has
on the lives of Arizonans. It's not a question of
whether securing the border is a federal
responsibility. The question is when the federal
government does not do what it ought to do, what's the
role of the state at that point.)

Napolitano already has a rejoinder. She gave Arizona
Public Radio a list of what have been her
accomplishments in that area.

(Let's go back to when I was attorney general and
crafted the bill that allows us go to after the
financial aspect of human trafficking. Let's go back to
my signing the anti-day labor bill, the human smuggling
bill. Let's go back to last summer, the summer of 05,
when I was one of the first two governors to declare a
state of emergency at the border.)

And Napolitano is not just on the defensive. She
trotted out her message Wednesday that Munsil lacks the
necessary experience in public service to be governor.

(He has run a small lobbying group for social
conservative agendas at the Capitol. I'm not being
critical. I'm just being descriptive. That is what he
has done. It's up to the voters of Arizona to decide
whether that experiential level rises to the level
necessary to run a state with a $10 billion budget and
six million people and all the challenges that we

Napolitano, by contrast, noted she was the U.S.
Attorney for Arizona, state attorney general and
finally became the governor. But Munsil had his own
take on her resume.

(She was a trial lawyer who got appointed by Bill
Clinton to a political position managing a prosecutors'
offices. She narrowly got elected to manage another
prosecutors' office, and narrowly got elected governor.
What was her experience to be able to deal with issues
like education and any of the other issues, taxes,
issues that I've been dealing with in the policy arena
for 20 years.)

One of those issues Munsil does not immediately mention
is abortion. As head of the Center for Arizona Policy -
- that social conservative lobbying group Napolitano
mentioned -- Munsil has been at the forefront of
pushing legislators to make it more difficult for women
to get an abortion. And Munsil admitted that if he had
his way, it would be illegal for a women to terminate
her pregnancy unless her life were in danger. But
Munsil maks no excuses for his stance.

(I believe in the sanctity of life and creating a
culture of life. And she is the most extreme pro-
abortion governor in Arizona history. She believes in
taxpayer funding. She believes in partial-birth
abortion. So I will let the people of Arizona decide
about what they believe about the values of life.)

Napolitano said she believes her election shows her
views are more in the mainstream.

(I think I've been very clear with Arizonans about
where my views are, that I don't believe government
should make those decisions. Those are personal
decisions between between individuals and their spouses
or partners, and their church or religious counselors
and whomever else, their health care providers,
whomever else they seek to consult.)

There will be at least three gubernatorial debates,
giving voters a chance to compare these two as well as
Libertarian Barry Hess.

In Phoenix, for Arizona Public
Radio this is Howard Fischer.