Potential candidates trade war of words

The two leading potential Democratic candidates for Rhode Island governor are having it out before either has declared for the office.

The barbs started with Providence Mayor Angel Taveras on Wednesday morning, but General Treasurer Gina Raimondo quickly fired back.

Taveras, not in a city office but a private lawyer's conference room, said he wants to make a deal with his potential opponent to curb all outside spending in a 2014 governor's race.

"We want to hold this election and focus on the people in the state of Rhode Island, not the special interests who fund these independent super PACs," Taveras said.

Raimondo said she had not heard about the pledge from Taveras but from the media. She said it's not even offered in good faith.

"He should first call on the special interests that are attacking me to stop it. And he should figure out how much money has already been spent and he should consider giving that money to charity," Raimondo told NBC 10 News.

It was just last week that the state workers' union slammed Raimondo in a commissioned report accusing her of taking retirees' pension money and giving it to Wall Street cronies.

But wasn't her heralded pension reform backed by an outside group?

"What you're talking about was an issue advocacy effort. What the unions are doing is they've hired a political hit man to come after me personally," Raimondo said.

Taveras said it's as simple as trying to keep political battles local.

"We're trying to figure out a way to make sure that we support Democratic values, and that is having good, clean elections, and making sure that we all play by the same rules," Taveras said.

Taveras said he will make a decision about running "very soon."

Raimondo said she believes the Citizens United decision is bad, and she would like to see outside money reduced in local races. But she said the union attacks are an example of that.

There is one declared candidate for governor -- Ken Block -- but he hasn't said what party he will represent.