(CNN)- South Carolina gubernatorial candidates Vincent Sheheen and Nikki Haley sparred on the stimulus, the budget and jobs during their second televised debate in Columbia Monday night.
Haley, the Republican candidate, said she had a ten year business plan for the state that she would begin implementing on her first day in office. Democrat Sheheen said his first task would be to appoint a strong commerce secretary to help him bring jobs back to South Carolina, where the unemployment rate is 11.5%.
Sheheen focused on his long-term plans to improve education in the Palmetto State, including the introduction of universal preschool and a renewed focus on public schools "Public schools can be great and we need a governor who's going to support public schools again," Sheheen said.
When the candidates were asked about specific budget cuts they would make, Haley said she would review the budget of every agency and pledged to privatize workforce centers, school bus systems. Sheheen said he would streamline the accounting and HR departments of all agencies into single entities.
The two clashed over each other's positions on the stimulus. Sheheen accused Haley of doublespeak, pointing to her record of voting for a provision in the state budget to accept federal stimulus funds, before voting against the budget itself. "She said because she voted against the state budget, it means that after she voted yes, she voted no. That's the kind of stuff we can't have happen in South Carolina anymore."
Haley shot back that Sheheen, "was the cheerleader for President Obama on taking the stimulus, he pushed Governor Sanford to try and take it all that has done has watched (sic) our unemployment go up, our debt go up," she charged. "I will fight a stimulus or bailout every single time because that's not what's healthy for South Carolina, that's not what's healthy for our country and I think we're all feeling that right now."
Sheheen used his closing statement to link Haley with the tenure of outgoing governor Mark Sanford, who drew national attention last year after admitting to an affair with an Argentinean mistress. "After the last 8 years, we've been embarrassed by our leaders. The people who have been running this state, like Representative Haley, who's been the biggest supporter of Mark Sanford in the House of Representatives have not done us right."
Haley closed by touting her opposition to big government and her business background. "We need conservative, strong, pro-business leadership, and that's what you'll get with Nikki Haley."