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Debate keys on Ige questioning Abercrombie’s leadership


Gov. Neil Abercrombie offered a strenuous defense of his first term in a debate on Thursday night, while state Sen. David Ige insisted there has been a lack of leadership from Washington Place.

Abercrombie described an administration that has presided over an economic turnaround after the recession. But Ige, the governor’s Democratic primary opponent, complained of poor execution by the executive branch that is holding the state back.

Ige said that, as a legislator, he has “spent many years passing good policy and I’ve been disappointed the last four years about the execution. There have been so many priorities that we’ve talked about and we’ve funded that just has not happened.”

Abercrombie countered that the difference is “that it’s one thing to look at a problem. It’s one thing to talk about a problem. But you have to act on it. And leadership means action. And we’ve taken action in all of these areas.”

The one-hour debate, moderated by Hawaii News Now’s Tannya Joaquin, was sponsored by Hawaii News Now and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. It was the second — and final — debate between Abercrombie and Ige scheduled to air on television before the August primary. The candidates met last Thursday in a forum on PBS Hawaii’s “Insights.”

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