In F.C., Kaine Says Top Voter Concern Is for Lawmakers to Work Together

October 4, 2012 1:17 AM0 comments
2nd Exclusive Talk With FCNP for U.S. Senate Candidate

This Monday, former Virginia Governor and current Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine sat down for his second lengthy and exclusive interview with the News-Press held on City of Falls Church turf, six months after the first time. With the election just a month away, he came with slightly adjusted views about the issues that matter most to Virginia voters.

kaineshotpaperFORMER VIRGINIA GOVERNOR and current Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine visited the News-Press offices this week for an interview. (Photo: News-Press)

 
2nd Exclusive Talk With FCNP for U.S. Senate Candidate

This Monday, former Virginia Governor and current Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine sat down for his second lengthy and exclusive interview with the News-Press held on City of Falls Church turf, six months after the first time. With the election just a month away, he came with slightly adjusted views about the issues that matter most to Virginia voters.

It is clear to him now, he said, that citizens have grave concern about the ability of the federal government to function at all, given the stubborn partisan gridlock that has stymied an economic recovery and will threaten the “fiscal cliff” of automatic sequestration by the end of the year.

“It is very different than when I ran statewide (for governor) in 2005,” Kaine said, “or in any of the eight campaigns I have run in my career.” Now, he said, “there is a greater skepticism about politics in general, and more people are saying they not sure the problems can be fixed. They’re discouraged at the dysfunction in Congress and the unwillingness of anyone to find common ground.”

Kaine’s visit to the News-Press office Monday followed a private fundraiser at a home in Falls Church Sunday night that was packed to overflowing with supporters. The League of Conservation Voters played a sponsorship role in that event, and Kaine noted that organization was the single largest donor to his campaign.

“I do believe human behavior plays a role in the environment,” Kaine stressed, countering the position of his opponent, Republican former governor and U.S. Senator George Allen. By contrast, Kaine pointed out, Allen’s biggest contributors are the Midwest-based Koch Brothers, right wing oil industrialists.

Kaine sandwiched his Falls Church appearances Sunday night and Monday afternoon with a town hall on women’s issues in Fairfax Monday morning, where he was introduced by Fairfax County Board Chair Sharon Bulova and former chair Kate Hanley.

He told the News-Press he was puzzled by why Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly went so far to push back against women’s health issues in this year’s session. “Maybe they felt emboldened after their successes in the 2010 elections,” he mused.

What struck him most, however, was seeing police called out in riot gear in Richmond when women’s groups organized peaceful protest rallies. “When I was governor, we never did that to anybody. It was very jarring to see it,” he said.

As for George Allen, Kaine said he feels his opponent hasn’t changed his style much since running in earlier statewide campaigns successfully. Allen lost in a 2006 Senate bid against U.S. Sen. Jim Webb in a stunning upset. In fact, at that time, until he was upset Allen was being groomed as the GOP’s 2008 presidential choice.

It was clear to everyone that the margin of the 2006 upset was found right in the Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and eastern Fairfax County corridor, where the majority for Webb was significantly greater than it was in the final statewide tally. The same was true for President Obama in 2008.

So, it makes sense that Kaine spends a lot of time in this area, while somewhat surprising that Allen has apparently conceded it fully by generally staying away. Lacking strong GOP candidates in the 8th and 11th congressional districts here to buoy his efforts, Allen has concentrated elsewhere.

A strong suit for Kaine has been the enthusiasm factor within the Democratic base. He said he felt it from the first of this year, when usually large crowds were showing up for his events in early January. It has continued, he said.

While the GOP thought that associating Kaine with Obama would hurt him, Kaine, one of the first backers of Obama in the 2008 campaign, has, he said, “not been at all bashful about supporting the president.”

“President Obama paid a lot of attention to Virginia in 2008, and I think that translated into Virginians wanting to do well for him in 2012. The stakes are high, the choices are clear, and voters are concerned that Citizens United secret money not stifle grass roots energy in this state,” he said.

The biggest issues are accelerating the economy, bringing the budget under control and finding common ground in finding solutions, he said. “The main solution to the first two issues is the third.”

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