Dalton and McCrory face off in debate Tuesday night

by: Jason Stoogenke Updated:

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DURHAM, N.C. - The two men running for North Carolina governor squared off Tuesday evening in Durham. The debate was the second televised debate for Democrat Walter Dalton and Republican Pat McCrory.

Experts said that Dalton had to do two things at the debate Tuesday night: be more aggressive and embrace a clear message. It looked like he tried to do both.

McCrory downplayed the polls.

"We are not taking that for granted. I don't trust the polls," said McCrory even though he leads Dalton by double digits.

Instead, McCrory seemed to paint himself as an underdog, an outsider to state government.

"I've never been inside the gates of the mansion," said McCrory.

Once again, McCrory framed Dalton as the status quo. Dalton tried to separate himself from Gov. Bev Perdue's term.

"Let me take this steering wheel … I'll get it done," said Dalton.

Dalton also repeated a theme that he's for working people, the middle class and seniors using those words often.

Dalton seemed more sarcastic than in the first debate especially when questioning McCrory's ties to a Charlotte law firm and criticizing him for not releasing his tax returns.

"Cha-ching, cha-ching, make him governor, cha-ching," said Dalton, "Romney's done it, Ryan's done it, I've done it."

After the debate, Dalton said "He's not been forthcoming with what is going on. I think the people of North Carolina would like to know that."

McCrory sees that as Dalton just trying to distract voters from the real issues.

"This concept of accusing people through questions instead of facts is not resonating with the people of North

Carolina and it's about time," said McCrory.

Both sides circled back to the economy.

McCrory said he will cut the income, corporate and gas taxes if he can.

Dalton said McCrory plan will put the burden on most families.