JEFFERSON CITY -- Democrat Attorney General Jay Nixon, the early front-runner for the Missouri governor's mansion, scored another PR strike last night. Nixon was chosen to deliver the Democrats' rebuttal to the State of the State speech delivered by his likely rival, Republican Governor Matt Blunt, earlier in the evening. Nixon is currently the heavy favorite for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2008. Blunt in his speech had proposed expanding state healthcare coverage to include foster children and disabled workers. He also floated offering tax breaks and subsidies to businesses to expand health insurance. The governor also supported over $100 million in tax breaks and the $300 million sale of the assets of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA). In the rebuttal, Nixon criticized Blunt's commitment to improving healthcare in Missouri and the rise in college tuition costs under Blunt's watch. "Our governor is slashing health care, and leaving too many of our families with no health care at all," Nixon said. Nixon's rebuttal also sounded one of his favorite recent themes: bashing big energy. He strongly criticized the governor's approval of a recent utility-rate hike by Missouri provider Ameren, against whom he has recently launched several lawsuits. "There's simply no excuse for rewarding the outages we've seen over the past year," Nixon said.