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Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

Posts Tagged ‘Tim Kaine

Shaka Smart to host Obama VCU rally

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Virginia Commonwealth University’s head basketball coach, Shaka Smart will host President Barack Obama kickoff rally at the Siegel Center on Saturday. Smart is one of the most well-known figures in Central Virginia and arguably may be the most popular man Richmond.

Smart has become a beloved Richmond figure, first for guiding the improbable run of the VCU Rams to the Final Four in 2011 and then by twice spurning offers from much bigger programs to remain the head coach at VCU.

The president’s love for college basketball is well-known. He often will attend college basketball games, has a brother-in-law who is a head coach and each year reveals his picks for the NCAA tournament on ESPN.

Smart, appears to be apolitical. He has no record of donating to any candidate on the Federal Election Commission web site and has not been outspoken in support of any candidate in the past. Turning down an invitation from the president is difficult to do, but make no mistake, Smart will be front and center at a bona fide political event. His presence would imply support for the president’s re-election bid.

Update: In April of 2011 Smart told the Richmond Times-Dispatch about his support of Obama in 2008. His wife Maya volunteered for the Obama campaign when they lived in Florida. Smart was asked because had VCU won the national championship, he’d get the chance to meet the president:

Smart was an assistant coach at Florida during the 2008 elections, and it’s probably no surprise whom he voted for given his background — a biracial kid who grew up in the Chicago area.

His wife, Maya, spent the year campaigning for Obama in Florida.

“I remember she had all the staffers and volunteers over to our house, and they’d be calling and preparing, and Maya kept saying that, ‘We’re going to win Florida,'” Smart said. “If you ask her today, she’s still the reason why.”

Shaka has never met the president, and was talking with his assistants the other day, reflecting that one of the best parts of winning would be the chance to meet him.

“That would be, obviously, a phenomenal thing,” Smart said.

See the full story on TimesDispatch.com

Smart also attended the White House Correspondents’ dinner, but did not get the chance to meet the president at that time. He will get that chance on Saturday.

In addition to Smart, the crowd will also hear from U.S. Senate Candidate and former Gov. Tim Kaine, Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and Newport News Rep. Bobby Scott.

UPDATE:

Smart’s former player and Obama supporter Bradford Burgess talks about the rally and his coaches’ important role in the event.

Full release from VCU:

SMART SET TO SERVE AS HOST FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA’S RALLY

RICHMOND, Va. – Head Coach Shaka Smart has entered the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center many times to sold out crowds.

Saturday, he will be entering to another capacity crowd, however, this time it won’t be to coach a basketball game. Smart, who will be entering his fourth season, will serve as the host for a rally at the Siegel Center for President Barack Obama.

Obama will be on his first re-election campaign trip with the Siegel Center being his second stop after an appearance at Ohio State earlier on Saturday. Smart will welcome not only President Obama, but also the first lady, Michelle Obama, to the Siegel Center.

This will be the second time in the past two years that Smart and President Obama’s paths have crossed as the Rams head coach was guest at last year’s White House Correspondent’s dinner in Arlington.

Saturday’s rally at the Siegel Center is set to begin at 2 p.m.

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Here is the release from the Obama campaign:

PRESS RELEASE: Shaka Smart, Bobby Scott among Speakers at President Obama’s Campaign Rally

Richmond, Va.—Today, the Obama campaign announced part of the pre-program at President Obama’s rally this Saturday at the Siegel Center in Richmond, including VCU basketball coach Shaka Smart, who will be hosting the event.

The pre-program participants, which will be released in full tomorrow, represent a mix of grassroots supporters and political leaders, and come from all corners of the commonwealth.

“President Obama has been fighting tirelessly to rebuild our economy and create an America where everyone who works hard and plays by the rules has a fair shot at success,” said Mayor Dwight Jones. “Virginians know the president has been getting the job done, from creating new jobs to keeping our nation safe, and I am looking forward to seeing thousands of his supporters gather here in Richmond this weekend showing their support.”

Pre-Program Participants Include:
• VCU Coach Shaka Smart
• Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones
• U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott
• Former Governor Tim Kaine

At Saturday’s rally, one of the first two public rallies of the campaign, the president will outline the choice Virginians will face in November: Are we going to move forward or go backward? Are we going to continue to turn the corner or turn back the clock and turn our backs on the middle class like the Republicans want to do.

The rally is open to the public and tickets are not required for admission. Supporters are strongly encouraged to RSVP at www.ofa.bo/rallyva and should plan to arrive early, as space is limited. Doors are currently scheduled to open at 1:45pm, although that time is subject to change.

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Written by Ryan Nobles

May 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Allen looks to coalesce Tea Party support with Johnson endorsement

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The name Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin)  probably doesn’t mean much to the average voter in Virginia. But U.S. Senate candidate George Allen (R) wasn’t necessarily looking to impress the “average” voter when he announced Johnson’s support of his campaign and then brought him on the stump with him Friday in Richmond.

Johnson is a wealthy businessman who ran a largely self-financed campaign to sweep long time liberal Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) from office. Johnson received a great deal of support from the Tea Party and is happy to be associated with the movement. A fiscal deficit hawk, Johnson supports deep spending cuts and is strongly opposed to the health care reform act and the federal stimulus.

Allen has a lukewarm connection with tea partiers in Virginia. One of the most prominent tea party leaders in the Commonwealth, Chesterfield’s Jamie Radtke decided to run against him in the upcoming republican primary.  He has had a mixed success appealing to local tea party groups as he looks to seal up the nomination.  Allen rarely appeals directly to the tea party but once said he was an “original member” of the tea party.

Allen’s biggest problem with the Tea Party comes from his last time in the Senate. Six years of supporting largely Republican led proposals that bumped up the federal debt and is a period of time that hard-core Tea Party members are very critical of.  Johnson’s visit to Virginia it allowed his critics to remind voters about that time in office. Both Radtke on the right and the democrats on the left were all to eager to dredge up the past.

Radtke released a very critical web video that called Allen out for his support for “40,000 earmarks”.  Web videos rarely have widespread appeal, but Radkte got a big bump when PolitiFact Virginia chose to rate the claim.  Their “mostly true” rating pushed the video to a much wider audience. (It was in our PolitiFact Virginia report this week on NBC12).  Democrats meanwhile had a field day pointing out the mixed message Allen has had with earmarks, saying he was “proud” of the ones he had brought back to Virginia and said they were ok, as long as they were accompanied by detailed information as to who proposed them.

Johnson worked to rein in the criticism of Allen in event today at Bill’s BBQ in Richmond. He strongly supported the former governor and senator’s leadership skills. Johnson argued that while progress is being made in Washington, real change hasn’t occurred because the Congress needs more people with Allen’s experience and ability to bring people together. He also said that Allen’s first go around in Washington was much different than things are now.

“Last time George Allen was in the senate we had manageable deficits,” said Johnson.  “Nobody liked them at all, but at least they were manageable.”

Despite the lack of rousing support from the Tea Party, there is simply no evidence that Allen is suffering. The few polls taken on the GOP primary show him with very large leads and he is neck and neck with his democratic opponent Tim Kaine in just about every poll.  It is clear that Allen’s effort to reach out to that wing of the party is subtle.  When we asked him about what role they will play in his election, he said they were important but went out of his way not to single them out.

“We are getting good support from a lot of folks,” Allen said, he went on to say, “We are welcoming every one to the A- Team.”

This won’t be the end of Allen’s effort and it will likely continue beyond the primary.  The Republican nominee, no matter who they may be, will want the passionate support of the Tea Party to help push them over the hump come November in what is destined to be a razor thin election.

See clips from our interview with Johnson and Allen below:

The full release from today’s Allen event with Johnson can be found after the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ryan Nobles

April 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Warner helps Kaine unveil economic plan

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Former Governor Tim Kaine has been a candidate for the U.S. Senate for exactly one year.  It was a job that he took on a bit reluctantly, but has since attacked with vigour.

In a race that is expected to be a titanic struggle between two of Virginia’s most prominent politicians, Kaine appears willing to do whatever it takes to give himself the advantage. One of those advantages is his old running mate, Senator Mark Warner. Warner consistently polls as one of Virginia’s most popular elected officials and seems ready and willing to help keep both U.S. Senate seats in the hands of democrats.

But while, Warner helps Kaine draw crowds, and potentially TV cameras that might not be their otherwise, it was the candidate that had to sell the message. Kaine focused his remarks at various stops in Virginia on his plan for the economy. A broad plan, based on three basic tenants of job growth, strengthening the talent pool and building a balanced budget while bringing civil discourse to Washington.

Kaine’s most prominent Republican opponent George Allen wondered what took the former governor so long to release his plan.

“It took a year, but Chairman Tim Kaine has finally put on paper what Virginia families already knew,” said Allen campaign manager Mike Thomas.  “He (Kaine) wants to raise taxes on families and small businesses.”

The Allen campaign once again hammered home Kaine’s connection to President Barack Obama and specifically his support of the stimulus plan and health care reform.

For his part, Kaine countered that attacks like those are exactly what Washington, D.C. needs less of.

“It’s all about balance, civility and working together,” he said during an interview at an event at Maggie Walker Governor’s School in Richmond. “You know restoring the traditions of let’s find ways to work together.”

It was a sentiment that Warner echoed. Warner who has tried, with little success, to find bi-partisan partners in Washington said Kaine has the type of personality that will bring people together.

“People are pretty frustrated with congress at this point,” said Warner.  “They want us to get stuff done. Tim Kaine will get up there and get stuff done.”

An extended clip from Kaine and Warner at Maggie Walker Governor’s School can be found below:

Allen’s campaign released his economic plan “A Blueprint for America’s Future” last year.

More on Kaine’s plan can be found after the jump:

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Written by Ryan Nobles

April 4, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Kaine campaign unearths footage of Allen in 2000 calling for disclosure

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Despite George Allen‘s resistance to come to come to some sort of an agreement on campaign deal to end “secret money” in the Virginia senate race, The Kaine campaign is not ready to back down.  Today they released a web video with news clips of Tuesday’s coverage of the challenge and included a clip from Allen’s 2000 run for senate, where he talks about the importance of disclosing the source of campaign funds.

The clip is a segment from a debate between Allen and then incumbent Sen. Chuck Robb (D).

“We need disclosure so we know who is contributing to these campaigns,” said Allen.  “And I think that the people of Virginia ought to know who is making those contributions.” 

Here is the Kaine web video, the clip from the debate hits at at about :34 seconds.

Yesterday, Allen said that is was hard to take Kaine’s claims of transparency seriously when he was recieving funds from out of state labor groups like the AFL-CIO which often pick candidates without the full consent of their membership. Today the National Republican Senatorial Committee echoed that charge. His campaign also argued that an agreement like this is impossible and was nothing more than a ‘Washington political stunt.”

Meanwhile, Politico is reporting that Kaine himself will soon benefit from a SuperPac of his own. A group of democratic consultants have formed the PAC and expect to launch soon.

“If Tim Kaine is truly serious about restoring transparency and accountability in our campaign finance laws, why does he support a mandatory union donation system in which hard-working men and women in Virginia have money stripped from their paychecks every month without their say?” asked Brian Walsh, an NRSC spokesman.

Lily Adams Kaine’s press secretary said  “It is unfortunate that George Allen’s inside-the-beltway mentality has caused him to now abandon Virginia’s long-held principle of campaign disclosure after he publicly embraced it multiple times.”

Written by Ryan Nobles

March 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Kaine, Allen spar over third party spending

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

It was a spark first lit back in December during the first, and so far only, debate for U.S. Senate from Virginia. I asked former Senator George Allen (R) his opinion of third-party spending in his race especially after the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

Here is the entire exchange unedited:

In case you missed it.. or didn’t feel like watching the video, Gov. Tim Kaine challenged Allen to tell the third party groups to stay out of Virginia.

At the post-debate in the press gaggle, Allen essentially closed any door that he might be open to teaming up with Kaine on a no-SuperPac pledge. After a few months, and the day after a new pro-allen SuperPac launched, the Kaine team decided to embrace Allen’s stance that he supports the way Virginia handles campaign finance. Essentially, unlimited donations but full disclosure where those donations are coming from.

Kaine sent Allen a letter asking him to have the two campaigns meet to carve out a plan to keep third-party “secret” money out of the Virginia senate campaign.

More from my story on NBC12.com:

RICHMOND (WWBT)- A unique proposal in the race for U.S. Senate, Tim Kaine is asking his likely opponent George Allen to team up to ask third-party groups, with secret donors to stay out of Virginia.

This proposal was borne out of a question I asked during a debate in December as part of our “Buying a Voice” segment.

The Allen camp calls Kaine’s idea: “A Washington political gimmick”

Despite being 10 months away from the election third-party groups are pouring cash into Virginia. Tim Kaine told me that Virginians deserve to know where the cash is coming from.

“If you won’t agree to no SuperPacs,” said Kaine “At least we should all be to agree no secret money.”

Kaine thinks Allen should be on board with the plan, based on what he said in the December debate.

“I’ve always been an advocate of ‘disclosure and freedom,’ said Allen.

In a response to Kaine’s request, Allen said it was “Hard to take (Kaine) seriously” because he took a sizeable donation from the AFL-CIO despite hoping to represent a right to work state.

The republican said most union members have no say over where their dues go when it comes to supporting candidates.

…read the full story on NBC12.com

Governor Kaine only spoke to NBC12 about his proposal. Our full interview with him can be found below:

See the transcripts of the letters from both campaigns after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ryan Nobles

March 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm

McDonnell to greet Obama at airport; attend Prince George event

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In a show of bipartisanship, this Friday, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell will greet President Barack Obama at Richmond International Airport and then attend the president’s event in Prince George County.

Obama is scheduled to speak about the economy at the growing Rolls-Royce plant in Prince George. Earlier this week, McDonnell announced that the company was planning a major expansion. Obama is expected to talk about that expansion during his remarks.

A sitting governor welcoming the president to his state is hardly breaking news, but in this highly contested election season it is no longer a given. Obama had made many visits to Virginia, many of them short jaunts across the Potomac. McDonnell has attended very few of those events, but he did attend an event in Norfolk during the president’s summer bus tour of North Carolina and Virginia. He also met the president on the tarmac in Hampton in the spring of 2010 before Obama’s commencement address at Hampton University. The governor rode in the motorcade with Obama and attended his speech.

All of McDonnell’s meetings with the president have been largely uneventful. This despite the republican governor being a big critic of Obama’s policies, a top surrogate for his potential opponent Mitt Romney and perhaps a candidate for Vice President.

Obama has dealt with at least one dust up on an airplane tarmac. Earlier this year, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer challenged the president over his immigration policy during their brief meeting after he de-planed. The exchange left behind a lingering image of Brewer with her finger pointed in Obama’s face.

Don’t expect anything that exciting this time around. McDonnell and Obama are both hoping to take part of the credit for Rolls-Royce expansion. Senate candidate Tim Kaine, a former governor and an ally of the president applauded both sides for their bi-partisan cooperation to make the deal happen.

We will have complete coverage of the president’s visit on NBC12, including live reports from the airport and Prince George.

Buying a Voice: U.S. Chamber attacks Kaine

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been very active in the 2012 election cycle. Their 3rd party political action committee has paid particular focus to the U.S. Senatate. Recently they launched this ad attacking former Governor Tim Kaine (D).

The Chamber of Commerce is a group most people are familiar with, but the name is one that many organizations at many different levels take on. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a pro-business national organization that tends to support mainly conservative and republican candidates.

The Washington D.C. based group is now front and center in the U.S. Senate race in Virginia.  The man they have decided to attack is former governor Tim Kaine. The ad specifically attacks Kaine’s support for President Obama’s health care reform plan. Showing clips of the one-time DNC chair, praising the president’s leadership.

The “Chamber of Commerce” seems like a local group, something that stands up for local businesses and local communities, but the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pretty far removed from Main Street Virginia. They are a national umbrella organization, with members big and small from all over the U.S..

So far their third party spending arm has spent $3 million on T.V. ads across the country. Every single cent has been spent attacking democrats.

The ad is being shown in so many places that the Virginia Chamber of Commerce went out of their way to make sure voters knew they were still neutral in the race.  In a statement their CEO Barry DuVal said they do not plan to endorse in the race for senate and that the Virginia Chamber is “a non-partisan, business advocacy organization.”

In addition to the ad attacking Kaine, The U.S. Chamber has also produced a similar ad praising his likely general election opponent former senator George Allen.

That ad is funded by the same group pushing the anti-Kaine ad.

Politifact Virginia rated the claims in the ad attacking Governor Kaine as “false“.  Our report on the U.S. Chamber can be found below:

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Here is where we got our info:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s web site can be found here.

The Center for Responsive Politics looks into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s political spending can be found here.

The PolitiFact Virginia report on this ad can be found here.

Written by Ryan Nobles

February 27, 2012 at 7:11 pm