First Kaine-Allen Debate: Live Blog

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

For whatever reason, the Richmond Times-Dispatch won't let anyone embed their live stream of the first Kaine-Allen debate, going on right now in Richmond. Here are some notes as the debate goes along, in part through peoples' Twitter feeds. *MoElleithee: Here's what I'll do to fix Congress:1) tackle tomorrow's challenges, not fight yesterday's battles. Begins with education. *Ben Pershing: Kaine says "Congress is dysfunctional and doesn't know how to fix our economy." That's putting blame on both parties, not just GOP. *Brandi Hoffine : In opening remarks, @timkaine offers positive, forward looking vision. George Allen offers tired Republican talking points *Ben Pershing: Kaine says it's too early to tell about uranium mining economics versus environmental impacts in Virginia. *Kaine says he approved Wise County coal-fired plant, but also talks about the need for clean energy. *Allen goes on and on about the need for dirty energy. Shocker, since he's made a ton of $$$ off of said industry. Will he disclose those ties? *Ben Pershing: Allen makes clear his two top Obama policy targets: "massive stimulus spending" and "job-killing" healthcare mandates. *Mo Elleithee: Here we go again. @georgeallenva rails against "sanctimonius social engineers" in Washington. Wonder how many of them live in NoVA. #VASEN *Flat tax? Allen says our tax code is far too complicated. "Freedom to choose flat tax." Says Kaine is "defending this complicated tax code." (he is?) *Allen says he thinks mortgage interest deduction and deductions for charitable contributions are good. Taxpayers could stay under "convoluted" system or go to flat tax. Alrighty... *Mo Elleithee: Allen's response to flat tax reverts to talking points -- completely ignores the question about SPECIFICS of his "plan" *Kaine -- Allen's answer was as complicated as the tax code. He wouldn't pin himself to a number, and that's instructive. Agrees that tax code is "way too complicated." We should take away the big subsidies that George Allen voted for as a Senator. Bush tax cuts -- Allen was deciding vote. They were put in place temporarily, because if they were permanent they would bust the budget. That's exactly what happened (along with voting for wars that weren't funded, etc.). Let Bush tax cuts expire at top end, over $500,000. We also need to make cuts -- "it's balance, it's balance." More on "flip" *Kaine: All we have to do is deal with the Bush tax cuts, that's $4 trillion worth of deficit reduction potential. We don't need people who pledge allegiance to Grover Norquist. Allen's plan is even tighter than Rick Perry's plan that would force massive costs to defense, Medicare, etc. *Question about "macaca" being "fair game." We are accountable for what we've said and done in public life. I haven't been talking about that on the campaign trail. I have followed what George said, including his apology, and I give him credit for that. When Allen said that, "welcome to America," there was no confusion about what Allen meant - that the young man was less of an American than you and me. That's the divisive politics we need to put behind us in this country. Like referring to federal employees as "sanctimonious social engineers," knocking peoples' soft teeth down their whining throats. This is not what Virginians want, what we're all about, we're all real Virginians, Allen's a bully. *Allen - "Macaca" was a mistake, diverted campaign from issues families care about. "I do want to unite people, all people, I'm from a football family..." "I do care about the people of Virginia." Talks about "gas prices," claims there are people in Washington who don't care about high gas prices. Really? Energy policies are hurtful. Kaine's in favor of cap and trade, direct attack on coal. *Ben Pershing: Allen takes question about macaca and transitions into a discussion of energy policy and gas prices. A microcosm of the campaign? *Allen says he's worked with Mark Warner over the years, also former DPVA chair Paul Goldman on renovating schools. We need to rein in debt, federal spending (note: after he participated in running up HUGE debt in the 2000s!). "Unaccountable, unelected bureaucrats." (note: Can we say "tired straw men and red herrings?" This guy is SO tiresome). Allen says "additional revenue" means "tax increases." (note: he seems to oppose any increased revenue at all, which of course mans all cuts, no balance whatsoever) *Mo Elleithee: follow-up to @georgeallenva: do you believe we need more revenue to deal with deficit. Answer: "don't use Washington speak." Huh? *Kaine -- George would not work as part of a bipartisan Gang of Six to find balanced approach. Mathematically, there is NO WAY to solve deficit problem without a balanced approach. Allen has put his pledge to Grover Norquist above his pledge to his office. Allen's plan is exactly what he did as a US Senator, and it tanked the economy. We had the biggest surpluses in history when Allen entered the Senate. Allen then voted for every spending item that came down the pike - Iraq, Medicare expansion, etc. They turned biggest surplus in history into biggest deficit. We can't fix this by following Grover Norquist. In Virginia, we were the best state, AAA bond rated, etc. "You've gotta have a balanced approach or you just can't run this nation." *Kaine to Allen - why did you vote repeatedly to give yourself salary increases. (Allen's answer: uhhhhhh.) "I don't think members of Congress deserve any salary increase." Spending was a problem in the years I was in the Senate, I voted against "bridge to nowhere." *Kaine: When Allen came into office, we had huge surplus, but Allen says one thing and does the opposite. State spending went up 45% in 4 years when Allen was governor. Same thing in US Senate. $3.5 trillion of raising debt ceiling limit. Voted against pay-go restrictions 6 times. Best judge of what somebody will do is what they HAVE done, and you increased spending dramatically in the Senate. *Allen: Your record as governor was one of raising taxes, leaving office with a budget predicated on a massive tax increase. Unemployment rate almost doubled when you were governor. (note: yes, because Bush and Allen crashed the economy) You were chair of partisan, political DNC in last year as governor. *Kaine: My job was not the most partisan job in America, you can look at the way I conducted myself. I took that job to serve the commander in chief. In many ways, my last year as governor was my best year. I was able to ban smoking in bars and restaurants. Many Fortune 500 companies moved here. I'm very proud of my service to Virginia and my fiscal record. I was governor during worst recession in many years -- recession largely promoted by the philosophy you promoted in the Senate. Despite that, we kept Virginia's AAA bond rating, "did amazing things," cut $5 billion from budget, cut estate tax... *Allen - You've been advocating for every significant initiative Obama has put forth, including the stimulus. "In fact, the jobs haven't materialized." You can talk about deficit spending, but you've been advocating for spending that's far more than the rates ever were before. You may consider closing rest areas good management... Also, if you had been successful in raising taxes, cap and trade, Virginia wouldn't be as attractive for business. (note: Allen is wildly wrong on cap and trade, remember that he's an extremely well-paid shill for the dirty energy industry). You were in line with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barack Obama. *Kaine - Wiping out Al Qaeda, saving the auto industry, etc. Allen - Not the role of the government to determine best product. *Question on gay rights around the world. Allen -- That isn't a subject I've heard from the people of Virginia, who are concerned with jobs, energy prices, foreign aid generally. Talks about our energy policy (and he's totally wrong again). Aid should be focused on humanitarian (so, apparently, Allen would favor slashing aid to Israel - fascinating). Claims Israel going to pre-67 borders would endanger Israel (even though this has been U.S. policy since 1967). *Kaine - The United States is strongest when we combine military, diplomatic, economic, moral example. In last decade, we really let a # of those fray, especially moral example. We condition aid on things like protecting religious minorities and other moral issues. I think it's a great thing that we look negatively at countries who persecute people for who they are, that's a horrible thing. We're in a time that a lot of tough cuts have to be made, foreign aid would be part of that (although it's not a large part of the budget). Israel has to be right at the front in terms of aid. In terms of oil drilling, we're producing a lot more oil and gas now than when Allen was a Senator, also exporting more refined oil now than when Allen was a Senator. *notlarrysabato: George Allen too much of a coward to say what he would do about aid to countries that put gays/lesbians to death. *Ben Tribbett: Good for Tim Kaine on his answer on this. George Allen is a dinosaur who can't even defend human rights of people he disagrees with. *Kaine - We need more transportation revenues. We did a good job of management. *Allen - When Tim was head of DNC, he wasn't looking to squeeze money out to improve roads and keep rest stops open. We kept promises to people of Virginia when I was governor. Welfare reform. Promoted work ethic. Safer communities. Regulatory reform. Economic development. Over 300,000 net new jobs created. Lower taxes, pro-growth, pro-ecnomic development with better schools. We froze tuition for higher education. When Tim was government, Virginian lost over 100,000 jobs, unemployment rate nearly doubled. I'm advocating proven solutions, better future for people of Virginia. Tim has been advocating for $800 billion stimulus, $4.4 trillion added jobs, 1.1. million jobs lost since stimulus passed. (note: can say complete logical fallacy?) *Mo Elleithee: So, to be clear: @georgeallenva says he spent more state money because of strong economy. Then he became Sen and tanked economy. #vasen *Question on campaign finance, outside groups. Allen -- I've always been an advocate of disclosure and freedom, I like Virginia's approach. McCain-Feingold was a "restriction of freedom." I would just hope the ads will be accurate in their portrayals of my positions, Tim's positions, etc. (note: the problem is, THEY ARE NOT!) *Kaine -- Citizens United opinion was an absolute disaster. To allow corporations to spend money the way they're spending it now is a disaster, especially combined with ability of people to spend money secretly. Watergate was about cash in bags. Citizens United opened up to secret money. Corporations should not have same rights as living, breathing persons. I've been the victim of the first attack ad of campaign, by Allen's good friend Karl Rove. The notion that these are independent expenditures is a great fiction. The first ad was false, as almost every newspaper said. I submitted balanced budgets one after the nest. That kind of thing makes me so excited about this race. I've got the forces of everyone aligned against me. *Ryan Nobles claims there are just as many pro-Democratic groups. That is TOTALLY false. *Kaine - I'd agree tomorrow with George Allen to keep third-party groups out of this race. (note: of course, Allen would NEVER agree to that!) *Question on Soering case. Kaine - I am very proud of my record as a crime fighter, in Richmond (cut violent crime 55%) and in Virginia (only time in recent times that Virginia's been one of safest states in country). Soering committed horrible crime. German government approached me to ask for prisoner transfer, part of statute put in place by President Reagan -- can get American prisoners home. I rejected the request. German government at the end of term, they guaranteed that Soering would stay in jail on the German nickle and never step foot back in US, my attitude was "good riddance!" *Allen - We disagree on a lot of things, this is another fundamental difference. When I was governor, we made sure we had safe communities. Richmond was very dangerous, police officer killed on Father's Day by criminal on parole. We abolished lenient parole system in Virginia. When Virginian judges/juries sentence someone, they ought to serve that sentence. There needs to be integrity in government, truth in sentencing, we have fundamental difference of opinion. *Gov. Tim Kaine: Staff: Check out our full rapid response web page for the facts on today’s debate: *Allen asks Kaine about the "stimulus" and his support for it. *Kaine - When stimulus was passed, we were in worst free fall since 1930s, in large part because of the policies YOU voted for. You increased debt enormously, also continue to raise deficit beyond your time in the Senate. Much of that deficit was the direct result of policies YOU promoted and voted. Your policies put America in a free fall. In 2009, stock market and GDP was collapsing, now GDP is growing, stock market is around 11,000 now, we've added private sector jobs for 19 or 20 months in a row. John McCain's chief economist says the stimulus bill created or saved about 3 million jobs. 1/3 of it was tax cuts to working Virginians. You like tax cuts to oil companies. *Allen - You've been bringing up this debt issue. The reality is that the last three years, deficit spending has become the norm, $4.4 trillion added to the deficit. Stimulus bill, reality is 1.1 million people have lost jobs since it passed. Stimulus is not working (note: Allen's empirically and analytically wrong on pretty much everything he says -- look it up yourself, do your own research, Allen's just completely wrong.) *Kaine asks Allen about debt ceiling, notes that Allen voted repeatedly to raise the debt ceiling with no conditions. This year, the Chamber of Commerce, Gov. McDonnell, Rep. Cantor, all said we need to do a deal, you said you were against it even if it would put America's credit at risk. *Mo Elleithee: Nice. @georgeallenva is now holding up a chart showing how the economy is struggling thanks to the policies he supported in the Sen #vasen *Allen - Washington was failing dire need to handle big increase in deficit spending. Congress put the military at risk. (note: Allen's completely evading the question) Need tough choices to be made, not as you say "raising taxes." Line item veto, blah blah blah. *Kaine - On the issue of tough choices, "you're all boots and no cattle man." Debt/deficit increases largely the result of what YOU did! People were making very tough choices this past summer, reduced federal spending by $1.1 trillion and you said you were against it. You demonstrated fiscal irresponsibility. Also, if you can't even work together McDonnell, Cantor, Chamber of Commerce, what does that say (Allen responds that McDonnell and Cantor have endorsed him) *Kaine - State should not adopt amendment defining life beginning at conception, because that would criminalize contraception. Tough moral issue. Should have explicit policy of reducing unwanted pregnancies and abortion. Access to contraception, better health care, etc. You should not criminalize womens' right to make their own reproductive decisions, that's something government shouldn't be doing. Allen has advocated personhood amendment, that would be outrageous intrusion of big government into places big government should't go. Allen would criminalize birth control pills. *Allen - I don't see personhood amendment as preventing contraception (note: he's wrong again). I have 100% "pro-life" voting record. Taxpayers shouldn't pay for abortions (note: they don't!). We were able to stop partial birth abortions. I agree with Tim on adoption. Parental notification. I don't think Kaine's accurate that personhood would prevent contraception. *Question about Tea Party "endorsements" of George Allen. How did that misrepresentation occur. Allen -- It was only 1 person, that was a mistake, a confusion over woman with same name. We've put out a lot of endorsements from great names - business, clergy, Tea Party activists, members of General Assembly, great grassroots organization. We have great support all across the state. Lots of folks are joining the "A Team," including independents and even Democrats, people responding to our positive message. Issue of coal, cap and trade, SWVA knows it's an attack on coal, that means jobs in coal fields but also in Roanoke. *Allen - I'm not a doctor, I'm just using logic, maybe a little Latin, about contraception. If the egg is not fertilized it is not conception. *Kaine - Allen was a stock owner in Barr Labs which produced the "Morning After Pill," which presents FERTILIZED egg from implanting in uterus. IUDs stop FERTILIZED egg from implanting in uterus. {Note: Kaine is 100% correct, Allen is 100% incorrect, not to mention extremist). We should not go back to those days. On coal, I permitted a coal-fired power plant (in Wise County). "I was proud of it," capacity for carbon sequestration. On Tea Party, I'm looking forward to talking to them. If they care about spending, they should compare my record with a Senator who turned biggest surpluses into the biggest deficits in American history. *Health care reform question. Health Care Freedom Act." Kaine - I will vote against any repeal bill, I will vote to make it better. I've been to remote access medical clinic in Wise County. Thousands of people line up to get simple medical treatment in richest country in world. We're so much better than that as a nation. We don't need to have 1 million+ Virginians uninsured. I do think Affordable Care Act was a big step forward. More than 20 million seniors have received free preventive care when they couldn't before. Millions of small businesses eligible. Every American safer against abusive insurance company practices. Allen wants to take all that away, just like he wants to privatize Social Security and adopt Ryan Plan. *Allen - This has been another policy that has been very harmful. I've heard from a lot of people very worried about it. Bizarrely claims that Kaine as claiming "Obamcare" was responsible ("taking credit") for Wise County remote medical care, clearly COMPLETELY missing the point, since Kaine said the opposite! This is hurting jobs. We need health savings accounts.