Kaine’s Specifics on Sequestration Solution Trumps Allen at McLean Debate

September 20, 2012 6:40 PM0 comments

kaineallendebateFormer Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine trumped in a high-profile debate today his Republican rival, former Virginia Gov. and U.S. Senator George Allen with outlines of a specific plan to avoid the year-end $1 trillion federal budget sequester that threatens to wipe out 200,000 defense-related jobs in Northern Virginia. Kaine spelled out repeatedly the elements of his plan no defense cuts and their budgetary consequences, including letting the Bush tax cuts expire on those earning over $500,000, fixing Medicare waste and removing subsidies from the Big 5 oil companies, leaving only $235 billion in additional cuts over 10 years, a relatively manageable number, he said.

kaineallendebateWITH MODERATOR DAVID GREGORY at the left, Virginia U.S. Senate candidates Tim Kaine (second from right) and George Allen (right) faced off in a live televised debate in McLean today. (Photo: News-Press)

Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine trumped in a high-profile debate today his Republican rival, former Virginia Gov. and U.S. Senator George Allen with outlines of a specific plan to avoid the year-end $1 trillion federal budget sequester that threatens to wipe out 200,000 defense-related jobs in Northern Virginia. Kaine spelled out repeatedly the elements of his plan no defense cuts and their budgetary consequences, including letting the Bush tax cuts expire on those earning over $500,000, fixing Medicare waste and removing subsidies from the Big 5 oil companies, leaving only $235 billion in additional cuts over 10 years, a relatively manageable number, he said.

Allen presented no comparable plan in the debate, hosted by the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce in McLean and carried live on NBC-TV Channel 4. He talked in generalities about promoting business for job creation, lowering taxes, eliminating “Obamacare” restructuring government and passing a balanced budget law.

Kaine called his plan a “compromise,” and repeatedly stressed that what’s preventing the Congress from being effective is disagreements on ideas, but an unwillingness to work together. Kaine said that expiration of the Bush tax cuts will add $500 billion to solving the sequestration problem, fixing Medicare will add $240 billion and ending subsidies to Big Oil another $25 billion.

In a generally congenial debate, the had some nice things to say about each other, but Kaine was sharp to criticize Allen for saying Democrats are holding the military as “pawns” in order to get tax increases in the sequestration debate. “I’d be a little careful about saying things like that,” Kaine said. “I want to resolve this without hurting our national defense.” He added, “There are no prisoners, but only problems to be solved” in the debate.

Kaine cited Allen’s statement from the past that “I’d like to knock the Democrats’ soft teeth down their whiney throats” as evidence, he said, of not any particular gaffe, such as Allen’s “macaca” comment of 2006 or Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comments that surfaced this week, but of a “sentiment.” Kaine said it was Allen saying to the Indian-American recipient of his “macaca” slur, “Welcome to America and the real world” that was problematic.

He said the same applied to Romney’s “47 percent” comments. Asked directly by debate moderator David Gregory of NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether he associated himself with Romney’s comments, Allen evaded the question by focusing on his own past record as governor, adding that “jobs are the best social program.” Pressed on the question by Gregory, he said, “I have my own point of view,” and then said that “Americans don’t look at themselves as victims.”

Kaine said that Gregory’s “is not a hard question to answer. It is very straightforward, it is divisive, it is a sentiment that Virginians do not agree with.”

Another major point of disagreement in the hour-long debate came on the issue of same-sex marriage. Kaine conceded that “as I’ve grown older, my views have matured,” and that he now believes “being for equality is never a bad thing.” He said he would hope anyone could have the kind of 28-year marriage he’s had, and to have such a relationship “and not have to hide it, but to have it recognized and celebrated.”

He said he believed in “full equality under the law,” that “people should be treated all the same,” and when pressed on whether he shared President Obama’s full support for gay marriage, he said that while state legislators are the proper places for such determinations to be made, “legal equality should be the policy.”

Allen, on the other hand, said simply that “marriage should be between one man and one woman,” and referred to same-sex attraction as a matter of “preference,” not orientation, implying it is a choice.

Today’s debate will be re-aired this Sunday at noon on NBC-4.

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