Kaine- Allen trade attacks in first debate of 2012.
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.
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.
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.