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Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

Posts Tagged ‘Tim Kaine

Kaine- Allen trade attacks in first debate of 2012.

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We knew it would be good and it lived up to the expectations. George Allen and Tim Kaine have both been in debates like this many times and they displayed their abilities to stay on message, attack when the moment was right and back their opponents into positions that will be turned into web ads and YouTube clips that will be passed around for many months to come.

I have a few examples of those moments below, but first, my full debate wrap from NBC12:

RICHMOND (WWBT)- We’re still 11 months away until Virginians pick their next U.S. Senator, but today, Tim Kaine and George Allen were in mid-season form.

The two political pros gave and took their share of attacks in this first debate of the 2012 campaign. The debate was probably not seen by too many people. So Kaine and Allen worked hard to position their opponents in a box that would resonate beyond a small room at the state capitol.

“The deficit has ballooned because of policies George Allen perused when he was a U.S. Senator,” said Kaine.

Meanwhile, early on Allen tagged his opponent to the man in the White House.

“On every significant issue, Tim has sided with President Obama and not the people of Virginia,” he said.

As expected, they stuck very closely to carefully prepared talking points. When forced to venture outside their comfort zones, Kaine didn’t mince words when looking back on the macaca incident of 2006 which derailed Allen’s reelection campaign.

“I don’t know why he would say that,” Kaine said, “But for whatever reason he said it is part of the divisive politics that we have to put behind us in this country.”

read and see the rest of the story on NBC12.com.

There were some fireworks in this one including some that could resonate beyond the small room the debate was held in.

Personhood and contraception:

The first was a curious exchange on the proposed “personhood” amendment. A plan that would declare that life begins at conception.  Kaine, who is opposed to the concept, claimed it would criminalize contraception. Allen, whose website boasts that he supports the policy, disagreed. That led to this confusing and very specific conversation about female reproduction.


“Chairman” Kaine

As has been often mentioned, Tim Kaine will be forced to defend his support of President Barack Obama often. That will especially include his role as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Allen used his opportunity to question Kaine to talk about his time as DNC chair. That led to a testy exchange on the topic and Kaine passionately defending the president.


Macaca 2012

No matter how they might try to deflect it, the Kaine campaign seems prepared to use the incident in 2006 that was the beginning of the end of the Allen campaign. After declaring it “fair game” during a pre-debate conference call, Kaine said his campaign would not use the incident as a tool in their campaign. He then said he was glad Allen has apologized. Then he launched into a scorching criticism of Allen as a name caller and linking the ’06 incident as an indicator of the Republican’s inability to work with others.  Make no mistake.. this IS a campaign issue. It is one Allen is clearly hoping to move past. He gave a half-hearted rebuttal and moved on to another topic. He doesn’t want to talk about it all. Kaine’s team seems to content to dredge of an event from 6 years ago as often as they can.


Kaine’s support for Health Care Reform

Finally, despite waning support nationwide and lukewarm support here in Virginia, Kaine is committed to health care reform. He said flatly that he would vote against a repeal and called it one of President Obama’s greatest accomplishments. Allen was ready to pounce. He called it a job killer and an example of Obama’s failed policies. 

Written by Ryan Nobles

December 7, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Kaine vs. Allen: in their own words

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It is a race that will be closely watched throughout the country. This afternoon, George Allen and Tim Kaine will face off in their first head to head debate of 2012 U.S. Senate campaign.

The debate will be streamed live on TimesDispatch.com and we will have complete coverage tonight on NBC12 and a complete wrap here on Decision Virginia.

As we prepare for the debate,  I thought I’d take a look back and some of the things both candidates have said leading up to today.

Allen & The Tea Party:
This debate has received quite a bit of criticism because the Associated Press and the Capitol Correspondents Association decided against including lesser known primary opponents. The Tea Party plans to protest on behalf of their candidate Jamie RadtkeTim Donner also put out a statement saying today is a “distressing day”. Allen has worked to fight back claims that he is not in line with the Tea Party. Here is what he told me shortly before he announced his intentions about his conservative credentials.



Kaine & President Obama
The Allen Camp has worked hard to make sure that Governor Kaine is linked to President Obama as often as possible. For his part, Kaine rarely wiggles out of that claim. He is proud of his friendship with the president, but tries to point out areas where they disagree.  This is what he told me after the president’s recent visit to the University of Richmond:



And one of the areas where he parts from Obama is on capital gains taxes.  Listen to his response on the Obama plan to raise revenue through increases in that area.



Allen & Macaca
Try as he might, Allen cannot escape that ill-fated moment on the campaign trail from 2006. He has repeatedly apologized, but democrats do not seem willing to let it go. Here is how he explained it to me on First at 4:00:

“I thought of it as a nonsense word. If I had known the nickname could be considered a racial slur, I would not have said it,” he wrote in his book ,What Washington Can Learn From The World Of Sports.  “I apologized to him and take full responsibility for the remark and its aftermath, which should have been handled much better.”



Meanwhile, Kaine and his team are not willing to let the past be the past.  During another First at 4:00 interview Kaine said “We are both going to be judged on what we have done and what we’ve said.. And that is fair.”  His quote comes towards the end of the interview:



Uncomfortable moments for Allen & Kaine:

Having interviewed both candidates close to a half a dozen times since they became candidates, we have attempted to pin them down on some issues they weren’t necessarily eager to talk about. For Governor Kaine it came during the battle over the debt ceiling. I gave him the chance to weigh in on President Obama’s role in the fight en-light of a vote he took against the debt ceiling when he was Senator. Kaine chose to punt on the question.. telling me he “wasn’t a student of that vote.”


On the other side of the coin, Allen bobbed and weaved for more than 8 minutes when I tried to pin him down on whether he would vote “yes” or “no” on  Rep. Paul Ryan’s controversial budget plan. He said to me “go ahead and ask the democrat’s question”



One thing is clear, these two men are political titans of the highest caliber. These interviews show them at their best, staying on message and driving home their point.

This afternoon will be fun.

Allen-Kaine round 1: debate preview

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Virginia political heavyweights Tim Kaine and George Allen face off Wednesday in their first debate in what is expected to be one of the most watched political races in the country. Both the Democratic and Republican front runners face primary challengers, but this debate, part of Associated Press Day at the Virginia Capitol, will only feature Kaine and Allen.

I am fortunate to serve as one of the panelist for the debate, along with my esteemed colleagues, Michael Sluss from the Roanoke Times and Bob Lewis from the AP. The debate will be moderated by Bob Gibson the Director of Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.

While I get to ask the questions, I always want to spread the wealth. Tell me what you think we should focus on in this highly anticipated forum. Share your ideas for questions in the comments section, on my Facebook page or shoot me a tweet.

Also tonight on NBC12 we will hold a special Call12 segment where you can call our volunteers and submit your ideas for topics that should be brought up during the debate. The number to call is 804-345-1212, the lines open during NBC12 News at 5.

Written by Ryan Nobles

December 6, 2011 at 11:46 am

Buying A Voice: “Crossroads GPS” attacks Kaine

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The Commonwealth of Virginia will get quite a bit of attention because it is expected to be a swing state in the presidential race, but that won’t be the only reason we will see many political ads.

The race for U.S. Senate is expected to be close and third party groups are already filling the airwaves looking to “buy a voice”.

This week we take a look at an ad that looks back on U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine’s career as Virginia’s governor. It makes serious claims about his working crafting the Commonwealth’s budget and his close association with President Obama.

Here is the ad:

This ad takes a look at U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine’s career as Virginia’s governor. It makes serious claims about his working crafting the Commonwealth’s budget and his close association with President Obama.

The ad features cartoon like pictures of Governor Kaine and pulls clips from television interviews, where he shows support for the president’s agenda.

This ad is paid for by a 501- c4 by the name of “Crossroads GPS”. 501- c4’s aren’t required to list their donor list.

While Crossroads GPS’ donors are private we know the group is an offshoot of the 527 political action committee “American Crossroads”.

American Crossroads was founded by a number of former members of the George W. Bush White House.  They include former RNC Chairmen Mike Duncan and Ed Gillespie, as well as former Deputy Labor Secretary Steven J. Law, and Bush strategist Karl Rove.

The organization raised millions of dollars in 2010, most of it from wealthy corporations and CEOs.

Two of their top donors are Trevor Rees- Jones the CEO of Chief Oil & Gas and Bob Perry, a Texas billionaire and supporter of the “Swift Boat” ads from the 2004 election.

All told, The Center for Responsive Politics determined that 91% of the money raised by Crossroads, came from billionaires.

And that group now has Governor Tim Kaine in its sights.

You can see our report below:


Here is where we got the information:

*American Crossroads lists it’s leadership team on it’s website.

*The Center for Responsive Politics listed the groups top political donors of 2010.

*The Washington Post reports on American Crossroads fundraising in 2010.

*The Wall Street Journal reports on Bob Perry’s donations to American Crossroads.

*The donor list for American Crossroads can be found on the Federal Elections Commissions website.

Written by Ryan Nobles

November 23, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Kaine parts with Obama on capital gains hikes

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It is the issue that could define former Governor Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) in the race for U.S. Senate from Virginia. If Kaine can articulate a message on taxes that sounds reasonable to independent and moderate voters it could quell the concerns raised by his potential opponent, former Governor George Allen (R-Virginia). And depending on how that position is received, it could also provide him wiggle room in his tight association with President Obama.

The issue on the table right now is President Obama’s proposal to pay for his jobs bill. It is a plan that includes a mix of new taxes that add up to $1.5 trillion.

Kaine is generally supportive of the president’s deficit reduction plan. In an interview Monday on NBC12 First at 4, Kaine told me that more revenue is a necessity.

“I have supported the expiration of the (Bush) tax cuts… let them expire at the top end,” Kaine said “I also believe we do need to take away some of the tax breaks and loopholes for big oil. I want the companies to be profitable, but they don’t need our help.”

But while he is generally supportive of the plan, Kaine stops short of the president in two key areas. He believes the Bush tax cuts should expire starting at the $500,000 a year mark, while Mr. Obama has proposed the taxes kick back in at the $250,000 a year level. He also is resistant to pushing high rates on income made from investments.

“I have not supported that provision,” he said.

An increase to capital gains taxes have been a point of contention for the president and a constant knock from republicans who have couched the president’s plan as just a massive tax hike.

Republicans like George Allen, whose staff responded to the Kaine interview.

“Mr. Kaine is clearly feeling the weight of advocating for the President’s failed agenda over the last three years,” said Bill Riggs, Allen’s press secretary.

Riggs pointed out that Kaine has had a mixed message on taxes from his time as DNC Chairman, to his time as a candidate. Monday, Kaine pointed out emphatically that an expiration of the Bush Tax cuts would not be a tax increase, even citing anti-tax champion Grover Norquist.

“The Bush tax cuts in the plan were made temporary,” said Kaine. “George Allen voted for them to be temporary and they were made temporary for one reason. If you make them permanent, they will completely explode the deficit, so here they are, they’re temporary, they’re set to expire at the end of 2012 and I have supported the element of the president’s plan that would let those tax cuts expire at the top end. That’s not voting for a tax increase.”

But according to Riggs, Kaine had a different position when he was at the DNC, applauding the president’s bi-partisan plan to extend the tax cuts. While Kaine voiced support for the overall plan, he specifically applauded the extension of the tax cuts for the middle class, saying that it allowed Americans to “breathe a sigh of relief”.  His staff maintains that has always been against the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for high earners.

Hence the challenge for Kaine. Can he find the common ground on taxes that can fend off Allen’s attacks while at the same time building some space between he and President Obama? It could be the difference between winning and losing.

You can see my full interview with Governor Kaine below. A full transcript is available at NBC12.com.

The full statement from Governor Allen’s campaign can be found after the jump. Governor Allen has also been invited for an interview on First at 4 as well.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ryan Nobles

September 26, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Kaine supports Obama jobs plan- including tax reform

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It has been the biggest barrier to progress in Washington and it could be the biggest challenge of President Barack Obama‘s new jobs bill. In order to pay for $400 billion in new funding, the president will once again call on Congress to raise taxes. Taxes that despite his best efforts, have been something House Republicans have refused to go along with.

Former Governor Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) is running for the U.S. Senate at the same time President Obama will be running for re-election. The two are close friends, and Kaine is still very much a strong supporter.  And while he is happy to be running along side the president, he made it clear he doesn’t agree with him on everything.

“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,” said Kaine. “But in most issues we see things the same way.”

One of those issues where they are on the same page is the reforming the tax code to help close the budget gap and pay for the “American Jobs Act” which carries a $400 billion price tag. That reform proposal has been labeled a tax increase by republicans.

“You take away subsidies for oil companies, subsidies for ethanol that aren’t needed and let Bush tax cuts, which were supposed to be temporary because they were going to mess up the deficit, you’ve got to let them expire at the top end.”

Kaine also believes spending cuts are necessary and says he is not afraid to cut. Kaine claims he cut more as Governor “than anyone who has ever sat in that office.” He views re-igniting the economy in a three-fold approach. Cutting wasteful spending, raising revenue through tax reform and investing in the future.

It is a plan similar to the one the president was pushing today. Perhaps an indication of how close their campaigns will be throughout 2012.

The full interview with Gov. Kaine can be found below:


Written by Ryan Nobles

September 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Scott will not run for the U.S. Senate

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Rep. Bobby Scott (D- Newport News) used the occasion of his popular Labor Day picnic to announce his decision to pass on a run for the U.S. Senate.  Scott will instead seek re-election to his seat in the House of Representatives.

Scott was part of a large group of democrats mulling a run for Senate since current Senator Jim Webb announced his plans to not run for re-election.  However that group significantly shrunk after former Gov. Tim Kaine announced his plans to run for the seat. While most establishment democrats got behind Kaine’s campaign, Scott remained open to the idea of a primary challenge. His interest was encouraged by liberals in the party who felt Kaine was not far enough to the left.

But as time went on, the realistic prospects of Scott mounting a serious challenge to Kaine dwindled and despite the fact that he refused to reveal his plans definitively, few believed he would actually jump into the race.

Today, Scott made it official that he would not run for the Senate, but in a statement still contends that he could beat Kaine.

“Though I believe I can win the democratic nomination and the general election,” He wrote.  “A winning campaign would require me devoting all of my time for the next 14 months to that campaign.”  The Congressman believes too many vital issues are at stake in Washington for him to devote all of his time on the campaign trail.

It is clear though that Scott still has his sites set on eventually moving up in the political world. He made it clear that he is still interested in running for a higher office.  “Although I am announcing that I will not seek my party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate, I have not ruled out running for higher office in the future,” he wrote.

Scott has also thrown his support behind a Kaine candidacy.  According to several tweets at the Labor Day picnic, Scott introduced Kaine as the “next Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia”. A moment captured by the Young Democrats at VCU:

Perhaps a subtle notice for potential candidates for a 2016 Senate race, if Sen. Mark Warner decides to do something else?

The full statement from Rep. Scott can be seen below:

Written by Ryan Nobles

September 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Cantor defends FEMA funding stance as “responsible”

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Rep. Eric Cantor has taken a series of hits from his detractors over funding for Virginia from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Cantor has said on multiple occasions (and in the wake of multiple disasters) that any increases in FEMA funding must be offset by other cuts in the federal budget.

Senate Democrats have refused to pass an increase to FEMA’s budget, already passed by House Republicans, because it includes cuts to programs they consider priorities.

That has leaders in Virginia, including Governor Bob McDonnell, concerned that much needed funding for the Commonwealth could be held up over bickering in Washington.

I asked Rep. Cantor about his position on recovery funding tonight. His stance has not changed. Here is my story from NBC12:

CHESTERFIELD (WWBT)- Getting back to normal could cost billions of dollars.

Virginia will need help and the federal emergency management agency is already running low on funds.

But Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Henrico) stance is clear, no additional funding for FEMA or the Virginia recovery, unless there are cuts in other parts of the federal budget.

As the disasters mount up, and the cost of the recovery is calculated in the billions, the amount set aside to help states in need is starting to dwindle.

It is a role Congressman Cantor believes the federal government should play.

“We are in an environment where we have to do for people when they are in a disaster,” he said.

FEMA is currently budgeted for $729 million through the end of this fiscal year. That money could be gone by the end of the September, long before the need in Virginia will be calculated.

Cantor- who represents an area hit hard by major disasters in less than a week does not believe the money should just be handed out without cuts somewhere else.

“How can you sit here and say we are trying to be fiscally responsible out of one side of your mouth,” said Cantor. “And then do something out of the other?”

…read the rest of the story on NBC12.com

Extended clips from our interview with Rep. Cantor can be found below:

We caught up with Cantor tonight at a political event at a hotel in Chesterfield. An event that was met by a group of roughly 200 protestors.   More on that after the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ryan Nobles

August 31, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Kaine hammers GOP on debt ceiling, calls out Allen for ’03 vote

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There are times to play politics and there are times to govern. Former Governor Tim Kaine believes that republicans in Washington are playing a dangerous game with the debt ceiling debate and it is all for political gain, at the worst possible time.

In an extensive interview Thursday, Kaine, who is running for the U.S. Senate from Virginia, told me that the GOP cares little about the country and more about making President Barack Obama look bad.

“(Republicans are saying) we don’t want to do a deal because it might help President Obama,” said Kaine. “It’s not President Obama that is the issue here, it is the Country.”

Throughout the entire debt ceiling debate, former Senator George Allen, the front runner for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate,  has been a strong supporter of the GOP plan dubbed “cut, cap and balance”.  Cut the budget, cap spending to a percentage tied to gross domestic product and constitutionally require the federal government to balance the budget.  He, like the republicans in Washington making this case, believe that the debt ceiling debate is a perfect time to address this proposal.

His spokesman Bill Riggs said in a statement that Allen, unlike Kaine, does not believe tax increases should be involved in the discussion in any way.  That fight, said Riggs is not about politics like Kaine claims, it is about the unemployment rate.

“The question is, why would Chairman Kaine want to raise taxes a trillion dollars with unemployment already at 9.2%, knowing it will adversely impact job creation?”  Riggs asked.

Kaine doesn’t buy that Allen cares about spending cuts, because if he did why didn’t he use the opportunity to reign in spending when he voted four different times to raise the debt ceiling? In 2003, Allen passed on the chance to vote for an amendment that would require congress to specifically identify how the government will pay for any spending increases.  If they money wasn’t there, it couldn’t be passed. The policy is called “pay-go”.

At the time the GOP was in control and the amendment was designed to make a point about the debt ceiling increase. Allen voted against it.  Kaine believes that if the amendment had passed then, the deficit would not be nearly the problem it is now.

“If the pay-go restriction had been put into place much of the issues that we are dealing with today in the deficit might not have been even issues that we had to deal with,” Kaine said.

Team Allen, however points out that the issues of 2003 are much different from 2011. The debt in 2003 was around $7 trillion, now it is hovering north of $14 trillion.  They believe that the problem can be reigned in with their three-pronged cut, cap and balance with no tax cuts.  Kaine and the democrats believe new revenues of some kind are a necessity.  According to Riggs, that is the problem.

“As Governor, Chairman Kaine advocated and pushed for billions in tax increases,” Riggs said.  “And now it seems he’s standing with his Democrat friends in Washington to raise taxes again.”

But despite Kaine’s rejection of debt ceiling politics, perhaps his most powerful supporters has admitted that he used the debt ceiling for just that end.  President Obama himself,  voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2006, as a young senator, toiling away in the minority.  As the debt ceiling debate began to ramp up, the President admitted that from his new perch in the White House, the issue is far to grave to mess around with.

I asked Kaine about the President, and he refused to be critical of the ’06 vote, but primarily because he claimed to not know enough about it.

“I am not a student of that vote,” said Kaine. He went on to say that depending on the situation a point can be made with a debt ceiling vote.  Where republicans have gone wrong it is on their insistence that score political points against the president.

“You don’t use an economic catastrophe as leverage, you don’t use a government shutdown as leverage,” he said. ” If you do that you are just using pure politics, rather than trying to solve a problem.”

Extended clips from Kaine on debt ceiling politics, including President Obama’s vote as Senator can be found below:

The full statement from Bill Riggs, Press Secretary for George Allen  is below:

“As Governor, Chairman Kaine advocated and pushed for billions in tax increases, and now it seems he’s standing with his Democrat friends in Washington to raise taxes again.  So the question is, why would Chairman Kaine want to raise taxes a trillion dollars with unemployment already at 9.2%, knowing it will adversely impact job creation?  And if Chairman Kaine says he is open to a Balanced Budget Amendment, why is he telling Virginians that it’s not the right thing to do now?  Is it because he wants to raise taxes and have no real measures to rein in Washington spending?  It seems like Chairman Kaine would rather stand with President Obama and put a band aid on our debt crisis than stand with the people of Virginia and propose a long-term fix.” – Bill Riggs, Allen Campaign Spokesman

Governor Kaine also had quite a bit to say about taxes and Rep. Eric Cantor. I posted a few raw clips from our interview after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ryan Nobles

July 14, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Scott delays decision on Senate run. Still considering a challenge to Kaine

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

Rep. Bobby Scott, the lone prominent Virginia democrat still considering a run for the U.S. Senate said today that he will hold off on making a final decision on a possible run.   Scott had set early July for a target date on jumping in or out, but in a statement released Friday afternoon, the Newport News congressman said he hasn’t had the opportunity to examine the pros and cons of a statewide run.

“This Senate election will be held next year, and there is no historical urgency to announce a candidacy in the year before an election,” Scott said.

He pointed to a busy calendar on Capitol Hill that has distracted him from focusing on politics. He said that jumping into a competitive statewide campaign for office would take him away from issues he feels are unresolved.

“(There are) many critical issues that require immediate time and attention that cannot be ignored,” Scott said.  “Furthermore, on many of these issues, the Congressional discussion is focused more on the political implications of alternatives, rather than the best interests of our nation; a statewide campaign would only compound that problem.”

If Scott did decide to get in, he would face a difficult road. The popular former governor, Tim Kaine has been in the race since the early spring and has been campaigning full-time since. Kaine has the support of much of the Virginia democratic party establishment. In his statement, Scott conceded the longer he waits, the more difficult it will be to jump in.

“I recognize that delaying the decision may result in those already in the race being able to build insurmountable leads, making a later entry unfeasible,” he said.

Most political insiders think Scott will ultimately decide to run for re-election, but there are some vociferous liberal democrats who are rooting for Scott to jump in the race for Senate.  Kaine’s somewhat moderate record could make him vulnerable in a primary and Scott is a credible liberal alternative. However,  despite his lengthy experience, Scott has never been forced to raise the money and create the infrastructure necessary for a statewide campaign. Those are things Kaine has done successfully two different times.

So we will continue to wait. This time without a specific timeline.

Scott’s full statement on a potential run for the Senate can be found after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ryan Nobles

July 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm


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