Bentley, Griffith Make Pitch to Commissioners

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Orange Beach, Ala. Republican Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and his Democratic opponent, Parker Griffith, faced off Thursday in back-to-back campaign speeches.

Griffith took repeated jabs at Bentley as he addressed county commissioners' annual convention in Orange Beach.

Griffith called Bentley a failed governor who hasn't addressed the state's struggles with education, health care, prisons and unemployment. Griffith said Bentley lets fear of the tea party dictate his policy decisions.

Bentley said Alabama is accomplishing great things despite national economic struggles. Bentley says the state has announced 60,000 new jobs, including the coveted Airbus plant, since he took office. The Republican governor praised his administration's road and bridge program and handling of natural disasters.

Bentley did not mention Griffith in his 20-minute speech.

Republican Attorney General Luther Strange and Democratic challenger Joe Hubbard were also invited to speak.

Hubbard accuses Strange of being an absentee officeholder more interested in cracking down on bingo than violent crime.

Strange says Hubbard has a campaign largely financed by gambling interests.

During the speech, Hubbard criticized Strange's efforts to shut down electronic bingo casinos in the state's long-running legal wars over the slot machine look-alikes. Hubbard said the casino customers aren't a threat to the state, and Strange is wasting resources. Hubbard said he will make fighting violent crime and corruption his priority.

Strange, responding by telephone, said his job is to enforce existing state gambling laws. He questioned Hubbard's impartiality on gambling. Campaign records show that the Poarch Creek Indians have given Hubbard's campaign $1 million.

Republican Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey and Democratic challenger James Fields were also invited to speak to the commissioners.