Senate candidates trade jabs over defense cuts, taxes in Virginia debate
July 21st, 2012
09:46 PM ET
10 years ago

Senate candidates trade jabs over defense cuts, taxes in Virginia debate

(CNN) - At a luxury resort where visitors usually come for rest and relaxation, former Virginia governors George Allen and Tim Kaine, who hope to represent the Commonwealth in the U.S. Senate, squared off Saturday morning in a debate moderated by CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

Both candidates noted Friday's mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado in their opening remarks. Republican Allen praised Democrat Kaine’s handling of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre while he was governor.

Both candidates agreed with the need to perform background checks on people making purchases at gun shows, while Allen added, "the solution is not to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves or their families."

Crowley anchors CNN's "State of the Union," which will air highlights of the debate Sunday at 9 a.m. ET on CNN’s "State of the Union."

While this was a Senate debate, presidential politics played a major part because of Virginia's importance as a hotly contested battleground state in the race between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Allen, who is campaigning to regain the Senate seat he lost in 2006, made pointed attempts to link Kaine to Obama, calling Kaine "the hand-picked chairman of the Democratic National Committee by President Obama, and he's, in effect, the hand-packed senator and recruited to run for the Senate." Kaine responded angrily, calling the remark "completely out of line."

Kaine highlighted his disagreements with Obama on the mission to Libya and on taxes, where he supports allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire on income over $500,000, double the amount called for by Obama.

He also found common ground on with Romney on health care reform that the presidential candidate enacted while he was governor of Massachusetts and which some have said is similar to Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

“I think Romneycare's OK. So, I'll agree with a Republican," Kaine said, drawing laughs from the audience.

On the health care reform law, Allen said, "I want to be the deciding vote to repeal this healthcare tax law. Tim Kaine thinks it's a great achievement."

The two clashed over the scheduled $500 billion in defense cuts that will come as a result of last year's standoff over raising the nation's debt ceiling. Allen argued that the agreement Kaine supported would disproportionally harm Virginia because of the state's large military presence.

Kaine noted that Allen's opposition contrasted with the support of Virginia's Republican Governor Bob McDonnell and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia congressman. He also argued that Allen was involved in creating the debt problem.

"When you were in the Senate, you didn't do any cuts. You ratcheted up federal spending, you increased the deficit, you voted to increase your own pay. You helped turn massive surpluses into massive deficits," Kaine said.

Allen responded that unlike Kaine, McDonnell and Cantor have proposed alternatives to the “draconian” defense cuts, adding that “national defense should never be used as a bargaining tool to raise taxes.”

Filed under: George Allen • Tim Kaine • Virginia
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Rudy Gonzales

    The real key to electing true representation is to look at the candidates closely. TEA party extremes use the (R) instead of the (T) when running for office. TEA party extremes say they believe in limited government, but push or allow government imposed Sonogram/Ultrasound on women. TEA party extremes say they believe in Free speech, but interrupt loudly at any meeting and have disrupted meetings in the past. TEA party extremes say they believe in the 2nd amendment while taking loaded guns openly displayed to gatherings. TEA party extremes say they believe in our military, but offer nor retort to people like Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who put a hold on legislation was to be voted on for medical help or assistance to women and children as well as military personnel of Marine Base Camp Lejeune which had their water system contaminated. TEA party extremes say they believe in secure borders and support extremist like the governor and legislature of Arizona who stepped across the line on immigrant legislation issues. TEA party extremes say they believe in our country, but without regard to freedoms of others. TEA party extremes say they believe in restricting voter rights going against federal laws. TEA party extremes say they believe Muslims should have no rights in America and have been totally critical of those who do. TEA party extremes say they believe in free speech but would disallow Mosques built in America.

    July 21, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  2. Cru

    “national defense should never be used as a bargaining tool to raise taxes.”

    Then why is the same used as a bargaining tool for a blank defense check?

    July 21, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    What will Allen screw up again. He called someone a slur. He can't stop spending when he was in the Senate. What are his prinicples?

    July 21, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  4. Jimbo

    Isn't this the same Allen who once insultingly called a dark skinned journalist covering his previous campaign "Macaca"? If so, we don't need him.

    July 21, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  5. michael

    Some are for it. Some are against it. Some want to see if it works. We all know republicans will try to obstruct it. But few are foolish enough to believe they will repeal it.

    July 21, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  6. LouAZ

    In politics, stupidity is not a handicap. – Napoleon Bonaparte

    July 21, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  7. CBR

    when candidates try to link their opponents to the president, another senator or anyone else in the government that usually sends a message that said candidate does not have much to say to get elected. Each candidate for the Senate or House should be judged on their own merits.. Of course, certain PACs that are raising funds from people who do not want to be identified will be filling the media with their ads.

    July 21, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  8. Tom

    To Tim!

    July 21, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  9. J.V.Hodgson

    They sound just like two kids who just wantonly criticise anything the other says with slap and counter slap and there gotcha.
    One day they might just tell us what they would do to fix a)budget deficit,b) debt c)unemployment and to d) get the economy growing again. In words of on syllable please.
    Please just tell me and all other voters how you will do a) thru d) above without when answering criticising how Obama or got it wrong or how Bush created the problem. we are where we are for better or worse!!
    Then I have a simple and clear choice whose policies do I think works best.
    Next both sides can then say
    a) What they would change about what Obama has done and WHY, then the democratic candidate can do rebuttal
    b) Then the Dem gets to say where Bush or Romney got it wrong and and the republican can do the rebuttal.
    During this a) thru d) above and latter a) and b) one civility rule applies no interruptions of either side.
    The last 20 minutes is devoted to fact checking where Candy is given untrue, less than half true, more than haf true and true on the major items and why and give each candidate 90 seconds to respond no more no less. Each side gets 10 minutes each. if you aint finished in 90 seconds you get cut off, same rule both sides.
    Too many of these socalled moderated debates are too unstructured and end up being a childish or meaningless jab and counter jab with little substance.
    Please put substance and fact over great sound bites and utter polarised adversity. You'll get all that doing the above but it will be real policy substance that will create more meaningful soundbites and emphasise the real polarity, and clear inability for any bi partisan ship by either side.

    July 22, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Gary johnson is the clear cut candidate. CNN give him some spotlight !

    July 22, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  11. Name

    Only in America!

    July 22, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  12. Louise Bowen

    No one is taking away your stupid guns. We just want a ban on assault weapons.

    July 22, 2012 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  13. King

    these repubs are amazing, at one point they want to cut every thing and the kitchen sink, then the lobbyist get a hold of them, now they want to cut particular stuff. lesson the defense contractors are the main oitsourcers of money to other countries. it's amazing how much these repubs are bent on pushing american money to other countries,yet they are willing to cut spending that will stay in this country and circulate through the small businesses communities.

    July 22, 2012 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  14. Phil Thomas

    These idiots really want to vote down this health care bill, problem is every day people realize this bill isn't as bad as the GOP makes it out to be. The lies change death panels, high taxes but in the end the facts are pretty consistent your kids are covered until they turn 26, inhumane caps are gone, preexisting conditions gone, most americans will get a tax credit. Like any liar the story always changes and the Repubs keep changing thier lies on why they want to repeal the bill

    July 22, 2012 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
  15. builder7

    When they want to cut the defense spending that is over $1.1 Trillion and they call it 'draconian', they have lost their mind. It is like telling the worlds richest organization that they will be losing their bubble gum machines. How much defense do we need? The entire country is going broke, we are not in a war (a real one), and they waste more money in a minute then I make in an entire lifetime. People need to come down to earth and quit backing the sponging off the U.S. taxpayer by contractors and others who see our defense budget, health budget, and other parts of the U.S. budget as a cash cow. The experiment of having contractors doing everything that the services used to do has not worked, and we need to go back to that model, which is like the rest of the worlds!

    July 22, 2012 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  16. Marie MD

    Mr macaca shouldn't be allowed to run for anything except picking up doggie poop at a dog park!

    July 22, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  17. Gurgyl

    1. Get rid off all GOP cult,
    2. Focus on education, not foot ball, basket ball all these cults .

    July 22, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  18. Norma Vessels

    Yes, Jimbo .. George Allen is the one that called a reporter, Macaca. That's one of the reasons he lost in his last bid for office. I hope he loses again. We don't need any more people like him in Congress.

    July 22, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  19. T'sah From Virginia

    I am listening to the debate now on YouTube and will make a comment later. But what sticks out with me now is "macaca!!!"

    Kaine 2012 – Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    July 22, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  20. scott

    I live in Virginia, under Kaine this state went from good to worse, Kaine raised taxes every chance he got. It took our current governor to bring this state back. Under Kaine this Commonwealth would regress back, I am tired of paying more taxes under Democrats all the time. Heck Kaine even wanted to cut funding to children's hospital under medicad.

    July 22, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  21. scott

    Vote Romney/Rubio for a brighter and better America. Four more years of Obama =four years of Misery.

    July 22, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  22. kathy/Minnesota

    A GOP vote in virgina is a vote on the rights of women......taking them away!!!!

    July 22, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |

    Vote romney the clown ,four more years of tax evasion and out sourceing .

    July 22, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. dave

    We have spent going on 2 trillion dollars on 2 wars in the middle east plus defense spending on top of that. Lets take care of our problems at home first because this amount of money can go along way in improving all americans lives. Just think if we had spent 2 trillion dollars over the last 10 years on alternitive energy we would be there now along with not caring about the middle east and their oil!

    July 22, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  25. Peace

    Listening to George Allen, he seems he is not ready to work with the other side. I do think people have learnt something so far, and should not allow this mistake to continue. Working together is the only solution which will make things move. Those who want to come so that they will always stick to their sides, should not be voted in.

    July 22, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
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