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Mr. McAuliffe again seized on that theme during the debate, pledging an executive order limiting gifts to his family and administration to $100, sarcastically noting that $100 could still buy a lot of turkey.

The debate, held in McLean, was sponsored by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce. It was moderated by NBC News political director Chuck Todd. A third and final debate is scheduled to take place Oct. 24 at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg — about a week and a half before the Nov. 5 election.