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Quinn, Brady Spar at Southern Illinois Debate

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Quinn, Brady Spar at Southern Illinois Debate

Illinois' three party-affiliated governor candidates went head to head in Carbondale Thursday night in a debate that sometimes sounded like a brainstorming session for a children's book.

Pat Quinn called Bill Brady "heartless" for a plan to cut taxes.

Brady said Quinn was living in a "fairy tale" if he thought he could balance budget by cutting costs.

Rich Whitney said both of the front-runners were living in a "fantasy."

Unfortunately the problems they were discussing are all too real. Quinn and Brady engaged in testy back and forth about who has the best plan to dig the state out of a $13 billion budget hole.

Quinn attacked Brady over a plan make across the board budget cuts that he says will cost more than 20,000 teaching jobs and leave other vital services gutted. He also said Brady doesn't possess the "courage or integrity" to spell out where he would cut.

Brady hammered Quinn's budget cutting plan, saying it would drive jobs away from Illinois.

"Gov. Quinn's the job governor all right, but it just happens to be for Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky and other states,"  Brady said, poking fun at a Quinn campaign mantra.

The sparring didn't end with the economy.

Brady accused Quinn of cutting deals with unions and tried linking him to former governor Rod Blagojevich. Whitney, meanwhile, didn't spar. He outlined plans to create a state bank, increase taxes to fund education and a plan to provide all college students with free tuition.

Two other candidates, independent Scott Lee Cohen and Libertarian Lex Green, were not invited because they failed to get 5 percent in the most recent polls.

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