BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - For the first time since surviving the primary and advancing to the runoff, both Louisiana gubernatorial candidates squared off on the issues.
The candidates sparred at the weekly meeting of the Baton Rouge Press Club.
Republican U.S. Senator David Vitter made it a priority to point out there are "stark differences" between himself and his opponent, Democratic State Representative John Bel Edwards.
Vitter called Edwards liberal in his approach to job creation, education and healthcare. Edwards responded by saying that he would govern from the middle and has enjoyed support from many Republicans across the state.
The two men also addressed the latest commercials in the campaign. Edwards claims Vitter took a call from a prostitute instead of voting in an important vote honoring veterans. Vitter responded in an ad of his own saying that forgiveness and redemption are the keys in his marriage after having made past mistakes some 15 years ago.
"I've learned that life isn't just about our falls," Vitter said. "I think what's more important in life is how we respond, how we get up, how we earn redemption and how we take responsibility and ask for forgiveness. That was the most serious mistake of my life clearly, but it's also, the aftermath of that, how I healed with my family, how I learned from that and grew, was the single most positive experience of my life absolutely bar none."
Edwards said he was offended by Vitter's actions.
"This is a week where we're going to have Veterans Day," he said. "It's not just forgiveness. I understand what my Catholic Christian faith compels me to do, I forgive. My own sins - and I'm a sinner too - are not forgiven unless I forgive, but the idea that the Christian obligation to forgive means you have to forget and to vote for someone - that is wrong. That is wrong. Especially when the performance of his public duties were also compromised."
Both will have their first runoff debate Tuesday at 7 p.m. on LPB.
Early voting ends Saturday. The runoff election is Saturday, November 21.