Democratic candidates for governor Ed Case, D.G. "Andy" Anderson and Mazie Hirono shook hands last night as they stood at the podium just before their debate began at the KHON-TV studio.

rumble on air

Anderson and Case throw verbal punches at each other as Hirono is unscathed

By Richard Borreca

Democrats D.G. "Andy" Anderson and state Rep. Ed Case traded verbal punches during the first televised debate of the primary election season, but the combatants left the front-running candidate, Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono, almost unscathed.

KHON-TV sponsored the first live, one-hour debate last night featuring the three major Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

Election 2002
Anderson sought quickly to portray himself as a businessman, saying he would have "fired" both Hirono and Case if they were working for him.

"I believe this town needs change and knowledgeable leaders, not youngsters and not the status quo," Anderson said.

Case shot back that Anderson has "so many ties, so many commitments that you can't talk about change."

Referring to Case's age, Anderson charged that the 49-year-old Case needed maturity.

"I don't want to be like you. ... You voted for the budget for seven years, the very budget you are now running against, you contributed to, you participated in, and you made it what it is now," Anderson, 71, said.

Case, 49, came back saying, "I have been walking the walk in government for eight years in the Legislature, and you have been out of government for 16 years."

Both Case and Anderson took glancing shots at Hirono, 54, while she framed her talk in general comments.

Anderson asked her why she first announced for governor, then switched to the mayor's race and then moved back to the governor's race.

Leighton Oshima gave his wife, Mazie Hirono, a kiss before the cameras rolled to start the debate. Ed Case, left, and D.G. "Andy" Anderson were at the podium getting ready.

"When I thought I was running for mayor, I thought I would be a damn good mayor. In politics things change. There is no mayor's race, but what hasn't changed is my commitment to public service," Hirono said.

Neither Case nor Anderson questioned her further on that issue.

Hirono praised her work in the Legislature and as lieutenant governor but did not mention Gov. Ben Cayetano.

Case complained during the debate that Hirono was vague in her answers.

"You haven't offered any plan whatsoever. That isn't an orientation towards change. You must understand that controlling the cost of government is a crucial crisis," Case said.

Hirono answered by saying she was interested in improving the economy because a better economy would help state tax collections.

"That is why I have called this an action agenda. My action plan for the economy is to create an economic expansion council that will bring together people from the private sector and government to move us into an economically strong situation," Hirono said.

Hirono defended her style, saying "leadership is more than taking positions."

"Leadership is about creating change and action, I have always been a change agent from the time I was in the Legislature and took on the insurance agency and took on Bishop Estate when it wasn't so popular," Hirono said.

"I put my chairmanship on the line. I sought to make systemic change."

State Office of Elections

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