AG candidates spar over joining health care case

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Republican Todd P'Pool hammered away at
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway for refusing to join a legal
challenge against President Barack Obama's health care overhaul as
the two candidates met in a hard-hitting televised debate Monday night.

Conway, a Democrat, countered that he stayed out of the health care fight to focus on Kentucky-specific issues.

Conway touted his record of creating a cybercrimes unit that has taken 300,000 child porn images off the Internet, having a role in the state's largest drug bust and increasing Medicaid fraud collections by more than 600 percent.

"I think that's a record that recommends re-election," he said in an hourlong debate on Kentucky Educational Television in Lexington.

P'Pool, in his second term as Hopkins County attorney in western
Kentucky, repeatedly tried to link Conway to Obama, who has never
been popular in Kentucky. P'Pool honed in on the health care law,
saying Conway has sat out "the most epic legal question of our time."

"I think Mr. Conway has spent more time trying to promote the agenda of Barack Obama than to protect Kentucky," P'Pool said.

Just over half the states are part of a legal challenge that claims Congress overstepped its authority in requiring people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty on their taxes, beginning in 2014. The case appears headed for the U.S. Supreme Court.

P'Pool has said he would promptly enlist Kentucky in the legal challenge if he's elected next month.

Conway countered that he stayed out of the dispute because he's a "Kentucky-first attorney general."

"I'm not going to take some of the valuable resources of the office of the attorney general and put 'em on a lawsuit on health care when that's an issue that's going to get decided anyway," Conway said.

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