Republican George Allen continues to rail against potential deep cuts in defense spending in an effort to gain an edge over Democrat Tim Kaine in their U.S. Senate race.
But Kaine’s campaign says Allen is stretching the truth to try to score points.
In a new ad out today in two Virginia media markets, Allen appears on camera and says: “The defense cuts Tim Kaine supported are threatening over 200,000 Virginia jobs.”
The ad isn’t airing in the Roanoke market yet, but Allen’s campaign plans to add it to its rotation here.
Allen is referring to defense cuts that could occur in January if Congress and the White House fail to agree on a deficit-reduction plan or fail to take some other action to avert the cuts. The defense cuts represent nearly half of the automatic spending cuts that would occur under a 2011 agreement to raise the federal debt limit and act on deficit reduction.
Kaine doesn’t support the defense cuts that would be triggered by sequestration. He did back last year’s compromise plan to increase the debt limit and avert a default. So did Republican congressional leaders and other prominent party officials, including Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Allen opposed it.
Allen and Kaine disagree on how to avert the defense cuts. Kaine has called for a “balanced” approach to deficit reduction that would include letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire on income greater than $500,000.
Said Allen in the ad: “His solution is to raise taxes. That’s not the answer. That would cost us even more jobs. My plan would stop the defense cuts by growing our economy, using our energy resources, and creating jobs.”
Kaine’s campaign said the ad falsely accuses the Democrat of supporting the defense cuts. And Kaine spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said Allen’s “only ideas are the same ones that got us into this mess.”
“Tim Kaine will advocate a bipartisan, balanced plan to avert this threat to our economy and create jobs, while George Allen continues to use our fiscal challenges for political gain,” Hoffine said. “Governor Kaine’s forward-looking plan to grow small businesses, invest in education, and find common ground is the only strategy in this race that will continue our recovery and boost growth for the long term.”
McDonnell complained about the potential defense cuts during a Tuesday interview on CNN. When asked why Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan supported the deal that made the cuts possible, McDonnell said: “A lot of people did, because you know what the alternative was? Default of the greatest nation on Earth and not paying our obligations. And at the eve of default, people said that’s a better alternative.”
But, McDonnell added, sequestration “was supposed to be a hammer, not a policy.” You can see a clip of the interview below.
– Michael Sluss