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Archive for September 2011

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

Perry introduces himself to Virginia voters

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If he ends up the republican nominee, he could be back here often, so today Texas Governor Rick Perry worked hard to make a good first impression.

The current GOP frontrunner leveled most of his criticism at President Barack Obama, comparing his administration to a “Western European caretaker state” and emphasized his own success at cutting spending and creating jobs.

Perry also showered Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell with praise, but stopped short of discussing his credentials as a potential Vice Presidential running mate, something Mitt Romney,  was not afraid to do just a few months ago.

No doubt, Perry is the real deal, he drew a major crowd of GOP faithful and a huge contingent of  local and national press. Many of them not wanting to miss out on the chance to perhaps see the next president of the United States.

But Perry has a long way to go before he is handed the nomination.  I take a look at what he is up against in my report for NBC12:

RICHMOND (WWBT)-  If the republican nomination were decided today, he would probably be the man tapped to take on Barack Obama in the race for president. Texas Governor Rick Perry may be the leader in the polls, but there is still a lot of work to do be done before November of 2012.

More than 11 hundred members of the Virginia GOP dropped more than $50 each to hear Perry speak.

However they won’t be able to cast a ballot for him until next march.

We are more than a year away from the 2012 presidential election and several months before the first primary voters go to the polls, but Perry was already in full campaign form.

“This campaign is about freedom,” he said to loud cheers at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

And Perry felt free to list off his many accomplishments..

“I have helped to create a million jobs during my tenure as the governor of the state of Texas,” he said.

He also took subtle shots at his fellow republican competitors like former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

“Michael Dukakis created more jobs at three times the rate annually than what Mitt did when he was governor,” Perry said, during the post event press gaggle.

But his main and consistent criticism was aimed at one target…

See this story and read the rest of it on NBC12.com

Perry also held a brief press gaggle after this afternoon’s luncheon.  He answered questions on federal disaster assistance, illegal immigration, the HPV vaccine and his GOP opposition.  The full video can be found below:

Written by Ryan Nobles

September 14, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Obama pushes his jobs plan in Richmond with an eye on 2012

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

President Barack Obama made yet another trip to Richmond on Friday. It was his first stop after delivering a speech to a joint session of congress unveiling his jobs plan.

The president spoke to a crowd of 8,900 people and made it clear. He wants the American Jobs Act passed right away.

Here is my report from NBC12:

RICHMOND (WWBT)-  The president chose Richmond to launch a campaign to get his new jobs bill passed.  It is a plan he promises will ignite a stagnate economy. It was a long line at the University of Richmond campus, with some of the people getting there as early as four AM.

During his speech, Mr. Obama pushed some key proposals that his opponents have been resistant to.

It is a statistic that has dogged this president from the start of his presidency: unemployment more than 9 percent. He is determined to bring that number down by investing $400 billion in job creation efforts.

That push led to the one word being said over and over again.


The country needs jobs and President Obama thinks he has the plan to make that happen. His “American Jobs Act” is a $400 billion dollar proposal designed to get people back to work.

“Everything in there is the kind of proposal that has been supported in the past by Democrats and Republicans,” said Mr. Obama during his speech.

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

The hard part for the president will be paying for that plan. Dr. Dan Palazzolo analyzed Mr. Obama’s speech and told us what he thinks could prevent him from getting it passed.

Meanwhile, NBC12’s Andy Jenks covered Rep. Eric Cantor‘s part of Friday’s dueling events. His report can be found on NBC12.com.

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

McDonnell believes GOP 2012 field is set

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Make no mistake, President Barack Obama‘s trip to Richmond on Friday has as much to do with 2012 as it has to do with anything else. President Obama is making an important visit to a key battleground to address perhaps the most important issue of the day.

But as the president arrives in Richmond, his eventual opponent is still unknown and may not be known for several months. Wednesday night the the republicans hoping to take on President Obama met for a debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell watched the debate with great interest, primarily because he believes the eventual republican nominee was on that stage.

“I don’t think anybody else is getting in, I think it is almost too late,” The governor told me during a wide-ranging one on one interview. “It’s September, it’s after Labor Day. There is kind of this top-tier that is being set and then some others.”

McDonnell will appear with Texas Governor Rick Perry, the current leader in the polls at a Republican party fundraiser in Richmond next week. McDonnell is close with Perry, but he isn’t prepared to endorse him or anyone else quite yet.

“I’m not going to endorse anyone until at least after November, because I want to focus on these elections here,” he said.

McDonnell reiterated his hope that the pick will be a fellow governor. He believes they contain the necessary “executive” skills that would be required of a president. Skills he believes are sorely missing in Washington.

Virginia’s governor told me that he speaks to all the candidates on a semi-regular basis, but the talk of a potential slot as a Vice-Presidential nominee has not come up.

“No, heck no,” he said. “That is a hypothetical thing down the road. I am going to let all the pundits take care of that, I am going to worry about governing Virginia.”

An extended clip from my interview with Governor McDonnell can be seen below:

Written by Ryan Nobles

September 8, 2011 at 9:20 am

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

Obama returns to Richmond on September 9th

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

President Barack Obama will make another stop in Richmond on Friday September 9th. The visit will come on the day after his highly anticipated address to a joint session of Congress. A White House official on background confirmed the president’s plans, but could not provide any specifics on his trip.

In his address to Congress,  the president will reveal his long awaited jobs plan, aimed at boosting the country’s unemployment rate which as languished around 9% for the bulk of his presidency.

The president seems to like Richmond. He made frequent visits here during his campaign for the White House and around this time last year he visited with a family from Stratford Hills and hosted a small community forum on economic issues at the SouthHampton Community Center.

This visit could be part of a tour to drum up support for the jobs plans.  It probably doesn’t hurt that Virginia, and Richmond in particular, are expected to be important battlegrounds in next year’s presidential campaign.

We are still working to learn more about the president’s visit. When we get more details we will share them with you.

Written by Ryan Nobles

September 2, 2011 at 3:33 pm