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Fiery debate on school reform laws today…

Here's how fiery the debate between state schools chief Tom Luna and Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise, got at the City Club of Boise today: After the debate, Cronin accused Luna of grabbing his arm after his opening remarks and berating him. “He grabbed my arm rather forcefully and got in my face and said, 'That's the biggest bullshit I've ever heard,'” Cronin said. “I looked at the people at the lead table and I think they saw that I was visibly alarmed, shaken, but that's what he said. He grabbed my arm hard enough such that I spilled my water. … When he tried to touch me again, I told him not to touch me.”

Luna's spokeswoman, Melissa McGrath, said, “He never used that language. That's completely inaccurate.” The exchange wasn't picked up on the event's microphones, and Luna denied afterward that he'd become angry with Cronin at any point during the forum. “I think we both were passionate,” he said.

Luna said, “I was surprised he would use his 12 minutes of comments for personal attacks against me rather than talking about what is in the laws. After his remarks, I leaned over to him and said something to that effect.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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