LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - After several tense exchanges between Kentucky's candidates for governor, Republican Matt Bevin during a media interview accused a WAVE 3 News reporter of working for his rival.
"I'm taking questions from people who are not working for the Conway administration. Other questions?" Bevin said, as the reporter tried to ask a question about which state assets Bevin planned to sell if he became governor.
Earlier, Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway and Bevin showed a mutual dislike during a one-hour forum at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. They took shots at each other's education, background and policy positions.
Bevin painted Conway as a political insider who has little private-sector work experience. Conway pointed out several of Bevin's past statements on policy issues and said the Republican was out-of-touch.
Bevin had accused Conway of playing up his role in policy achievements during Gov. Paul Patton's administration "right out of school in your first political job." Conway responded that, while he was young, he "was a Kentuckian." Bevin grew up in New Hampshire.
The two then went back-and-forth as Bevin jabbed at Conway for graduating from Duke University. Conway responded, "at least I tell the truth about where I went to college," referring to a controversy last year when Bevin's LinkedIn page claimed that he had attended MIT.
As he did during last week's Kentucky Farm Bureau forum, Conway pointed out that Bevin planned to roll back the state's Medicaid expansion under the federal health care law. About 430,000 Kentuckians have received insurance through the expansion, but many Republicans say its cost is unsustainable.
News reports have quoted Bevin saying he would "immediately" scale back the Medicaid expansion. Asked by reporters afterward about that, Bevin said that he would "address it immediately," not end it immediately.
The audience of business leaders heard stark differences from the candidates on private schools and right-to-work legislation -- Bevin favors both policies, while Conway opposes them -- and a disagreement over early childhood education.
Conway said he would provide state-funded preschool education for families whose incomes are less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
"I don't think the state at this point can afford a universal preschool program paid for for every kid," Conway said.
Bevin, who said he wouldn't tie preschool education to the poverty level, accused Conway of backtracking on his plans.
"You told them (at another event) that you were going to fund early childhood education big -- capital B-I-G," Bevin said. "Now it's a little 'big,' apparently, in front of this group, because this is a group of people who understand you can't promise things you can't deliver on."
Bevin's plans include selling state properties, such as buildings and fleet vehicles, that the state no longer uses. At a February campaign event, he refused to name specifics, and refused again Tuesday.
After Bevin cut off the question from WAVE 3 News, another reporter re-asked it.
"If I'm elected, then it will be very germane. Then it will be very specific," Bevin said when asked why he wouldn't provide examples of wasted government property. Asked if voters deserved to know before Election Day, Bevin said labor policy, pensions, taxes and other issues "should be our focus in the days ahead."
Bevin didn't provide a reason for accusing the reporter of working for Conway.
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