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Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

Archive for February 8th, 2012

Kaine picks his moments to part with Obama

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

It has, and undoubtably will continue to be, one of the prevailing themes of the 2012 campaign for Virginia Senate. How close is Tim Kaine to President Barack Obama?  The obvious answer is very close. Each time the president is forced to confront a difficult decision,  Kaine is also forced to give his take.  Quietly, Kaine has picked opportunities to build some space between he and Obama.  Most of those occasions are never clear-cut, and regularly couched in an overriding appreciation of the president as a friend and as a leader. But make no mistake, Kaine is working to build his own image in a race where the president’s perception could have an overwhelming impact on the race for Senate.

The latest came in an interview with public radio station WRHV in Hampton Roads. Kaine was asked by the host Cathy Lewis what he thought of the confrontation between the Obama administration and the Catholic Church over mandatory coverage for contraception by intuitions operated by the Church.  Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services has determined that facilities such as Catholic hospitals must provide the coverage for free, despite the Church’s moral opposition to contraception. Kaine said he thought the requirement went a bit too far.

“This is something that’s been talked about a lot today and I have definitely expressed my grave concerns to the White House about that,” Kaine said.  “I support the contraception mandate but there should be a religious employer exemption that is broader than the one they proposed.”

The Washington Post’s Ben Pershing picked up the conversation and his blog post quickly spread like wildfire to national political journalists who are aware of the Kaine-Obama connection and it’s implication on the Virginia Senate Race. 

Kaine’s campaign was quick to damper down some of the talk.  They made sure to point out that former Virginia governor still believes the overall contraception mandate makes sense, but just believes the exemption should extend further than what HHS has dictated. 

This back and forth is pretty typical of a Kaine parts with Obama moment. The headline comes out “Kaine parts with Obama”.  The tweets and blogposts follow and then the Kaine team does a bit of work to temper the idea that their candidate has strayed too far from the president, but make clear exactly where the two differ.

Case in point. During an interview with me on First at 4 back in September, Kaine split with the president on raising the tax rate on capital gains and he said he supported a higher sunset rate for the Bush tax cuts.  Just like the contraception issue, Kaine supports the president’s broad policy, but finds subtle differences where he can build some space.

But that is not all.

Kaine called on the Obama administration to continue their study of the Keystone XL pipeline, instead of turning the project down. He believed the president should’ve gone to the Congress before taking any military action in Libya  and he was disappointed when the Obama administration passed by Virginia as a potential site to explore off shore drilling.

It will be impossible for Kaine to completely escape the specter of Obama and he knows it. He once told me that when it comes to he and the president, “I’ve got my own views on some things and he and I some times have some pleasant and some times spirited disagreement on this or that. But on most issues we see things the same way.”  That is why the Kaine team welcomes polls like today’s that shows Obama (and them) with a slight lead in Virginia.

But while Kaine wiggles an every so small space between he and Obama, George Allen will continue to pound home his belief that his fellow former governor will be nothing more than a rubber stamp for a Obama agenda. 

National republicans have already pounced on Kaine’s statements on the contraception debate, tying it to his overall strong support for the health care reform law.

“If Tim Kaine is truly concerned with government overreach today,” asked Brian Walsh of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.  ‘Why didn’t he listen to the countless Virginians and Americans across the country who expressed these same concerns BEFORE he joined with President Obama to help ram ObamaCare through the Congress?”

So between now and election day, expect every moment of new difference between Kaine and Obama to become big news stories. No matter how small the issue may be.

Written by Ryan Nobles

February 8, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Buying a Voice: Obama hits the airwaves

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It will be the first of many, but the Obama campaign is on the air with their first campaign ad of 2012. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look:

In 30 seconds, the commercial attempts to dismantle the claims by “Americans for Prosperity” and then build the case that the president is actually having success in creating green energy jobs.  The ad will be the first of many paid for by “Obama for America”.

Obama for America or OFA, is the name of President Barack Obama‘s re-election organization. It is the most traditional form of political fund raising.

The average voter wishing to contribute the Obama campaign would donate to OFA.  A quick check of the Federal Election Commission web site reveals literally thousands of donors to OFA with Virginia ties.

But while that donor list is very traditional and something the president is proud of, just this week he gave approval for his supporters to actively begin raising money through a practice he has criticized in the past.

Supporters of the president have launched “Priorities USA Action”. Priorities is a Super-PAC, Meaning its donors can give without limit, but they must disclose those donations.  It’s not directly connected to Obama for America, although the president has given the group his approval.

Currently the PAC has spent most of its time hammering Mitt Romney.

It’s raised more than $3 million.  The two biggest donations, $2 million from Dreamworks CEO Jeffery Katzenburg and $500 thousand from NewsWeb Corporation honcho Fred Eychaner.

But keep in mind, this SuperPAC, has not bought any ads in Virginia quite yet.

The Obama campaign did not come to the decision to support their SuperPAC lightly. In a blog post informing their supporters of the move, Jim Messina the Obama campaign manager said the campaign will not “play by two sets of rules”

You can see the ad below:

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Here is where we got our information:

*The Obama for America Federal Election Commission filing can be found here.

*The Priorities USA Action web site can be found here.

*Open Secrets details the funding streams for Priorties USA Action.

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