Taylor and Palazzo fight to the finish

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - By Krystal Allan – bio | email

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - The two congressional candidates squared off Saturday afternoon on the streets of Bay St. Louis. There was no formal debate, but the two were busy shaking hands and pitching their positions during the city's Fall Festival.

There were some spicy exchanges between the two spilling over from a debate held Friday night. One of the issues left unresolved was the presence each has had overseas.

"I've been to Iraq nine times and Afghanistan seven times," Taylor said. "My opponent, who is a National Guardsman, somehow never made it there.  I think the fair question is why didn't Steven Palazzo go? His unit went twice. And I think the people of South Mississippi deserve an answer to that question."

Palazzo countered saying, "I served in the Persian Gulf War as a marine.  My unit's never been to Iraq.  My unit is Camp Shelby.  I'm a installations support person.  If I had the opportunity to go to Iraq and Afghanistan to serve my country, I would gladly do it."

As Taylor questioned Palazzo's service, Palazzo pointed to Taylor's trips overseas as photo opportunities.

"When he's over there, he's in the rear taking photo ops," Palazzo said. "You got to remember these comments are coming from someone who's never worn combat boots."

Taylor pointed to work he's done to protect troops saying, "The reason that there are 17,000 mine resistant protection vehicles in the budget is because of my work based on my trip.  If my opponent wants to call it some type of a photo op, then shame on him."

Come Tuesday, the debate over whose record and rhetoric has won the people over will be decided in the voting booth.

"People are coming up saying it's time for a change," Palazzo said. "They say, 'Don't let us down.' I'm telling them, 'Give me two years and I won't let you down.'"

As for Taylor's pitch, he said, "For all these years, I've stood by them. On November 2nd, I'm asking the people of South Mississippi to stand by me."

On Saturday, Palazzo's camp announced an endorsement from well-known Republican Sarah Palin. Many South Mississippians have already received recorded phone messages from the former Alaska governor asking them to support Palazzo.

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