In Virginia’ heated U.S. Senate race, Republican George Allen is out with a television ad today that bashes Kaine for serving as chairman of the Democratic National Committee while he was still Virginia’s governor.
The ad is part of Allen’s effort to tie Kaine to the fortunes of President Barack Obama, who is in a struggle to win a state that he carried in 2008. Obama tapped Kaine to head the DNC in 2009, the final full year of Kaine’s term as governor. Allen has argued that Kaine’s political duties diverted his attention from his job as governor at a time when Virginia was dealing with budget shortfalls and job losses because of a slumping national economy. In his opening statement in last week’s debate at Virginia Tech, Allen said Kaine “wants to be President Obama’s senator.”
Kaine has disputed such assertions. In an Oct. 8 debate in Richmond, he said some of his administration’s most notable achievements, including a restaurant smoking ban, major business deals, and advancements in foster care reform and land preservation, occurred during his final year in office.
“While Virginians faced the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, Tim Kaine put politics ahead of those he was elected to serve as President Obama’s national party chairman,” said Alen campaign manager Mike Thomas. “Instead of focusing on jobs for Virginians, Tim Kaine championed President Obama’s agenda for the failed ‘Stimulus,’ the Cap-and-Trade national energy tax, and Obamacare, with an increase of over $5 trillion in our national debt. Given Tim Kaine’s record of ‘doing what the President wants me to do,’ it’s no wonder he endorsed the Washington deal that has us now facing $500 billion in devastating defense cuts and over 200,000 in additional jobs lost in Virginia. Tim Kaine wants to be President Obama’s Senator and George Allen wants to be Virginia’s Senator.”
The Allen ad opens with a clip of Kaine on the ABC News program “This Week” saying: “I’m doing what the president wants me to do.” The interview took place Oct. 24, 2010, more than nine months after Kaine had left the governor’s office. Kaine was responding to a question about whether he would stay on as DNC chair after the 2010 elections that would see Democrats lose their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The ad hits Kaine for supporting the federal stimulus package, a cap-and-trade system to curb pollution emissions, and Obama’s health care overhaul. It also accuses Kaine of supporting “the deal leading to defense cuts that threaten 200,000 Virginia jobs.”
The deal was a bipartisan agreement in 2011 which allowed for an increase in the federal debt ceiling and for the deep spending cuts to occur if Congress fails to pass a deficit reduction package. Kaine voiced support for the compromise. Allen opposed it. In last week’s debate, Kaine said Allen’s opposition put him outside the mainstream of his own party at a time when the country was on the brink of default.
Update: Kaine’s campaign called Allen’s attack misleading and hypocritical. Among other things, the Kaine camp noted that Allen chaired the Senate Republicans’ campaign committee during his previous term in the Senate.
“As Governor, Tim Kaine balanced Virginia’s budget — all four years, earned Forbes’ Best State for Business rating — all four years, and recruited new companies to the Commonwealth — all four years and even in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression,” Kaine spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said. ” George Allen, on the other hand, was so concerned with electing more Republicans, he failed Virginia. Given his record of turning a surplus to a massive deficit and paving the way for our current economic mess, it’s no wonder George Allen’s more focused on empty partisan attacks than results.”