The man with the plan was upset.
Democrat Rory Reid raised his voice, demanding to know when Republican Brian Sandoval, his opponent in the race for Nevada governor, would deliver on a promise to propose a plan to balance the state budget.
The two men had just completed a debate aired live on statewide television and radio with Reid repeatedly emphasizing his detailed plan to balance a two-year budget that could have a $3 billion shortfall.
Sandoval, instead of countering with a plan of his own, sought to turn Reid's plan against him by emphasizing its flaws, the most glaring being a reliance on about $615 million in revenue that budget analysts say won't materialize.
"I don't think it is fair for him to stand there for an hour and criticize my budget and misrepresent what I said when he has no plan of his own," Reid emphatically told a gaggle of reporters and photographers. "He promised you that budget, and I hope you're asking him: Is he going to give it tomorrow? Did he tell you when? Or did he just say he can't do it anymore?"
Moments earlier in his own informal, post-debate talk with reporters Sandoval was sanguine.
The Republican, who myriad polls show leads Reid by anywhere from 6 to more than 20 percentage points, with insiders estimating a margin of about 10, would only say he intends to hold the line on general fund spending to about $5.2 billion, what he says represents a rollback to 2007 levels.
He repeatedly batted away questions about when he would deliver on his promise to unveil a budget plan, choosing instead to convey broad ideas about how he intends to mop up a bloody mess of red ink that's smeared over revenue and spending forecasts for 2011-13.
"I'm telling you what it is right now, I'm explaining it to you right now," Sandoval said to one of a half-dozen or more questioners prodding him repeatedly for specifics, before reiterating the $5.2 billion figure and 2007 spending levels.
As recently as Sept. 22, Sandoval had said, "We will be producing something in the near future."
It was a defining contrast in the race for governor just one week before early voting begins.
In one corner is a frustrated Reid, offering his plan, perhaps flawed, to balance the budget. In the other is a calm Sandoval, shifting the conversation away from his lack of specifics and toward shortcomings in Reid's plan and his own experience as a former legislator, attorney general and federal judge.
Looking on are an estimated 1.1 million active, registered Nevada voters who will decide whether to punish Sandoval for being slow to deliver specific proposals or ignore Reid's budget plan as the product of a politician looking to paper over Nevada's problems with hopeful words and rosy numbers.
The debate Thursday was one of Reid's final chances to seize control through direct confrontation with Sandoval. There are two more debates scheduled the last week of October, but many people will have already voted by then.
"It is getting toward crunch time for Reid," said David Damore, a professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "He is still getting the old bob-and-weave from Sandoval."
Damore said for the most part, both candidates performed well in the debate, but Reid failed to make a convincing case that the contrast between Sandoval and him on the budget plan issue mattered.
"'I've got a plan,' that seemed to be his only attack," Damore said of Reid. "Sandoval, by not being specific, had the advantage."
Fred Lokken, a political science professor at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, said Sandoval's lack of a plan was a disadvantage because it sucked the credibility from his criticism of Reid's proposal.
"Rory countered so effectively by saying 'at least I put forward a plan,' " Lokken said.
In general, Lokken thought the exchanges showed why polls that show Sandoval leading the race tend to also show Reid gaining ground.
"What will happen now is he will continue to see an erosion of his support," Lokken said about Sandoval. "It did make it look like Brian Sandoval may be sandbagging a bit to the November election."
Ryan Erwin, a Republican consultant who isn't involved in the gubernatorial race, said it is easy for campaign insiders and pundits to get caught up in the details behind a candidate's words in a televised debate.
But a smart candidate will realize television viewers settling in to watch a debate aren't as familiar with the specifics.
In that sense, projecting the image of a leader can be just as or even more important than being the candidate whose homework list impresses campaign surrogates and journalists watching from the debate studio.
"The vast majority of your audience is not in that room," Erwin said.
Erwin said both candidates appeared to do well in terms of looking gubernatorial, adding that Sandoval did a nice job of focusing on speaking through to the broader audience even as Reid tried to turn the conversation toward details.
"Rory had to try to drag him into the weeds," Erwin said.
Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at email@example.com or 702-477-3861.