Thursday, April 21, 2011 | 11:24 a.m.
At moments during the debate, Carolyn Goodman and Chris Giunchigliani looked like old friends.
They grinned. They politely shook hands.
Goodman even heaped praises on Giunchigliani, saying how much she respects her and calling her a "premier legislator."
But the friendliness was a facade. The candidates used an hour-long debate Wednesday at UNLV to jab at one another.
Goodman attacked Giunchigliani for being a career politician and creating the problems she complains about.
Giunchigliani called out Goodman for citing inaccurate facts.
A telling exchange: Goodman criticized the 2 percent pay cut Clark County Commissioners (including Giunchigliani) recently agreed to take. Goodman pointed out that the elected officials will continue to receive expensive benefits and called the move "smoke" to distract voters.
Giunchigliani said the cut was a first step that opened up contracts for negotiations. Then she criticized Goodman for complaining, saying that her husband Mayor Oscar Goodman approved lucrative contracts for city workers for 12 years.
The debate was hosted by NAIOP, Southern Nevada's Commercial Real Estate Development Association, and centered primarily on business and economic development topics.
To create jobs, Giunchigliani recommended in-filling empty parts of the city and incentivizing green construction projects. Goodman said she wants the city to work with private businesses to try to identify more grant opportunities.
As in past debates, Goodman spoke out against project labor agreements while Giunchigliani supported them.
In an interesting twist, Goodman described herself as a "conservative" candidate and stressed several times that she is a free-market capitalist.
"I'm very much about less government," she repeated several times.
Goodman's emphasis on private sector support was likely the result of the crowd to whom she was speaking. The NAIOP group has made contract negotiations, labor agreements and business-friendly policies its central goals.