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Democratic candidates for governor talk Education in first debate

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The leading Democratic candidates for North Carolina governor did little to differentiate themselves on the public schools during a forum sponsored by local education administrators.

Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, former U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge and state Rep. Bill Faison spoke Thursday at the Raleigh Convention Center from the same stage for the first time using a debate-style format in their primary campaign. Gary Dunn of Matthews and Bruce Blackmon of Buies Creek also participated.

Faison, Etheridge and Dalton say they oppose tax credits or vouchers that would give parents tax dollars to send children to private schools. The three also criticized this year's Republican-penned budget.

Three GOP candidates for governor followed with a similar forum. Missing was leading GOP candidate Pat McCrory, who had a scheduling conflict.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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