Democrat Tim Kaine and George Allen his Republican opponent for the U.S. Senate in Virginia faced off in Hot Springs, Virginia for their first debate heading to the November election. Kaine repeatedly tried to paint Allen as an overt partisan and a big spender, while Allen said Kaine was President Obama’s cheerleader, most notably for the heath care law and a serial tax-increaser.
The debate this past weekend, was the first head-to-head clash between the two former Virginia governors since the Republican primary was won last month by Allen. Both candidates started the event by acknowledging the Aurora, Colorado tragedy that cost 12 people their lives and injured dozens more at a movie theater.
The senate race is one of the tightest in the nation and closely watched, as the winner will succeed Senator Jim Webb a Democrat who is retiring. Webb ousted Allen from the same Senate seat back in 2006.
Allen attempted to pin the looming half a billion dollars worth of defense cuts on Kaine, who supported Congress’ trillion dollar budget cuts last year. More will automatically kick in this year, including defense programs, if the Congress fails to take action prior to January 1. Virginia is home to a number of defense bases and contractors and could lose over 200,000 jobs if the partisan impasse is not broken and the cuts automatically take effect.
Allen said it is impossible for him to support something that potentially will harm Virginians. He said Virginians needs to come first and the nation’s defense should not be used as a tool in bargaining for increased taxes.