|12:01 pm: David Gregory laying down the ground rules. Panelists include Ben Pershing (Washington Post), Julie Carey and Aaron Gilchrist of NBC4.
12:03 pm: Kaine and Allen introduced. Kaine's opening statement. Rail to Dulles/transportation. Education. Economic development ("we landed marquis companies...best state for business"). Proud of my accomplishments, proud that we did them since horrible recession. Need to fix gridlock in Congress. Need to grow economy, invest in infrastructure projects, win talent race, fix budget with "balanced approach" (and deal with short-term sequester challenge). Need to get results, not rhetoric.
Allen opening statement: Dulles Rail, spirit of partnership. Refers to "my friend Tim Kaine." I hope we can have a positive conversation here to day...Low taxes, reasonable regulations, don't endanger hundreds of thousands of jobs in NOVA, using them as pawns to demand higher taxes for a budget deal (Big Lie #1 - that didn't take long!).
David Gregory asks about the "47% comments." This should be interesting - will Allen wriggle out of it or give a straight answer?
12:09 pm - Kaine: I heard those statements, I really deeply disagree with the sentiment expressed by Gov. Romney. Virginians are not victims. Comments were condescending and divisive. That's the LAST thing we need as a country. We need shared sacrifice. Excellent opportunity to start right now. How do we deal with year-end budget cuts. Let Bush tax cuts expire for people making more than $500k. Fix Medicare. Let tax subsidies to Big 5 oil companies expire. Would be open to proposal for minimum tax for everyone.
Allen: Best indicator of what someone will do in future is what they did in the past. Best social program is a job. (He's dodging the question, as expected). Welfare reform...promote work ethic...dignity of a job (standard Republican talking points). Make sure everyone has the opportunity to compete and succeed, decrease taxes on people....blah blah blah (Gregory, to his credit, cuts Allen off and says answer my question!). Allen continues to dodge the question. I have my own point of view - still won't say whether or not he agrees or disagrees with Romney. #FAIL "Americans don't look at themselves as victims."
Kaine: This is not a hard question. Romney's comments were divisive. We've seen too much of that kind of politics. I'm proud that in the last generation, we've moved away from the divisive politics of the past. Reference to Lynwood Holton, turning the page on segregation, time to have an "aristocracy of merit." This generation has rejected Romney's sentiment, I'm very thankful that they don't. Let's prove we can come together, resolve short-term fiscal challenge.
Question to Allen about sequestration. How can you continue to say no to ANY tax or revenue increases?!? Allen says there are a "lot of things" that can be done. (Yeah, like...???) We need to repeal and replace Obamacare, that will save over $1 trillion (Big Lie #2!!!!). Balanced budget amendment. (Ugh, total non-starter/gimmick). (#FAIL once again.)
Kaine: I have a specific plan, unlike anything I just heard in last 90 seconds. Allen voted for TEMPORARY tax cuts, because if they were permanent that would bust the deficit. Time to let them expire for people making over $500,000 per year. Fix Medicare, something that George voted against when he was in the Senate. Take away subsidies to oil companies. George took a different approach after being a big spender as a Senator, voting for numerous debt ceiling increases, but last summer he advocated we default. He's on more sides of this than Rubik's Cube.
Allen: You didn't do an analysis of your so-called plan's impact on jobs. (HUH?!?) Blames the U.S. Senate...mentions that Kaine was chair of DNC. (This guy's got NOTHING!). Unleash American energy resources (just remember, Big Oil's paying Allen big bucks).
Question about tax code deductions.
Kaine: We have to solve sequester problem before year end, but that doesn't end the challenge. Need to make reforms on revenue and on spending side. I did it as governor. Do a tax reform that broadens the base, fills in deductions and exclusions and reduces tax rates, make it simpler. Home mortgage interest deduction is very important. Don't argue over each individual deduction, have an aggregate maximum you can claim.
Allen: Freedom to choose Flat Tax. They did this in Hong Kong (yeah, and...???). Cut taxes, will create jobs. Tim doesn't have an analysis of his jobs plan. He always wants to raise taxes (FALSE, of course; does Allen practice lying, or does it come naturally to this douchebag?!?).
Gregory: Followup on deductions.
Kaine: Allen's rhetoric is exactly the type of name-calling we have too much of in Washington. What's wrong with Washington will NOT be fixed by more of that. Allen was a Senator for 6 years, his fiscal policies turned massive surpluses into massive deficits. Now he's talking like the fiscal conservative, but his actions don't match his words. (EXACTLY!) On deductions, look at them in the aggregate, not one at a time.
Question on Affordable Care Act, do you want to completely get rid of it?
Allen: (Attempts to rebut Kaine's 100% accurate points about Allen's pathetic record). On health care, that's an impediment to jobs...so harmful to small businesses (more lies by Allen)...blah blah blah. It ought to be repealed and replaced. Some provisions in it are good, like covering students up to age 26. Health savings accounts. Small businesses should be able to band together across state lines. More flexibility for states in managing Medicaid.
Kaine: Allen put fiscal time bombs into budget that are still going off today. Wage two wars without paying for them, that's unprecedented in American history. Expand Medicare without paying for it, unprecedented. A second term of George Allen in the Senate would be very similar to the first. On Affordable Care Act, the LAST thing we need to do as a nation is spend our time looking in the rearview mirror. When Allen was in the Senate, premiums went up sharply, as did # of uninsured Americans. (NOTE: to this point, Kaine is absolutely demolishing Allen, not even close) There are fixes that are necessary, of course, but there are many, many benefits in the Affordable Care Act. The cost was already being borne, people going to emergency rooms.
Gregory: Are you committed to universal coverage.
Allen: (Dodges question, bashes Affordable Care Act again). Have health care decisions made by doctors and patients, not bureaucracies up in Washington (another red herring; right now, health care decisions are made by bureaucracies alright - in the health insurance companies!). (Honestly, it's hard to even follow what Allen's blabbering about, it's such nonsense, pabulum, whatever words you want to use)
12:32 pm: Commercial break.
12:35 pm: We're back.
Question to Kaine on same-sex marriage.
Kaine: As I get older, I've come to the conclusion that being for equality is never a bad thing. Everybody should be entitled to equal protection under law. My relationship with my wife is something I'd hope everybody should have, regardless of their sexual orientation. I DO believe that relationships equally under law. Churches should decide which relationships they recognize in the church. States can decide what they call them. But the key is legal rights and responsibilities should be equivalent. State legislatures should decide whether to label it "marriage" or whatever else, the key is legal equality.
Allen: I believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman. I don't believe in discrimination based on sexual preference (uh George? not letting people get married IS discrimination!). Health care tax law is impediment to growing your business (uh, what does this have to do with the question?!? Answer: NOTHING - #FAIL once again).
Question on gender gap, is this a Republican Party problem with women?
Allen: We're going to do very well with men and women (can we say "delusional?"). Everyone cares about jobs and the economy. (yeah, and your party is a disaster for those things)
Kaine: It's demeaning to suggest that these issues are just "social issues," they are also economic issues. If you force women to have an ultrasound procedure against their will and pay for it, that's an economic issue. Personhood legislation is an economic issue too. Allen voted against Family and Medical Leave Act. Women are more than half of this economy.
Question on Allen's loss in 2006 due to "macaca" slur, that moment still lingers.
Allen: I've stated on many occasions, that was a mistake, I've apologized, I never should have done it. Losing is a humbling experience, I didn't like losing. When you get knocked down, you get back up We're going to focus on jobs and the economy, it's not just rhetoric (so much for what he learned from the experience, how he's changed, etc. - this guy's about as introspective as an eggplant). Attacks Kaine's governorship...blah blah blah.
Kaine: The biggest question Virginians wrestling with is that Congress is broken because people won't work together. We have a shortage of willingness to compromise, find common ground and work together. The sentiment Allen expressed was that this young man had to be welcome to the "real" Virginia. That sentiment is still out there. We'll only solve problems if we work together. George, you famously stated that you favored shoving Dems soft teeth down their whiny throats. Could be sports, competitive rhetoric, but we need more bridge builders, that's the one thing we're missing in Congress right now.
Allen: You pick out certain quotes from me. The Washington Post said Gov. Allen has been markedly successful in generating business investment (what does this have to do with anything? who knows, just keep rambling George...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz).
Question on Libya, attack in Benghazi.
Kaine: I'm sure they could have, whenever something goes wrong there's always something you could have done better. My darkest day as governor was shooting at Virginia Tech; I said we're going to put in place a panel of people to determine everything that could have been done differently, so we can minimize chances that will ever happen again. In Libya, there were certainly things that went wrong, what administration needs to do is dig into it as deep as they can, find out what went wrong and fix them.
Allen: Commends Tim Kaine for his actions after Virginia Tech. On national security, we should have said we were on the side of people in Iran fighting against the theocracy there. We have to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. It is dangerous and wrong to play political games with our armed services, we need to be strong. (Uh George? That's largely YOUR party again! LOL, he just doesn't have a clue...)
Kaine: Noone's talking about using the military, veterans as pawns. I haven't heard that from anyone, except from George throwing that (baseless) charge around. We have to figure out how to resolve budget issues so we don't hurt defense. I've laid out a concrete plan to do that. That's trying to solve a problem, we have to have some problem solvers in the Senate.
Question about Afghanistan, our troops being targeted.
Allen: Not a good idea to let our enemies know when we'll be leaving Afghanistan. Men and women there are heroic. We've given Afghans an opportunity to take charge of their own destiny. There still will be ways to monitor that area using drones, etc. If the Afghan people won't stand up for themselves, we can't.
Kaine: We can't be the guarantor of civil society in Afghanistan. With the death of bin Laden and elimination of top Al Qaeda leadership basically completed the mission. The challenge is porous nature of border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, instability in Pakistan (and its nuclear arsenal).
Kaine: Thanks to George Allen, he clearly enjoys campaigning as do I. We need Washington that gets results. Downgrade of America's credit was because too many in American leadership class were willing to use routine debt ceiling increase as leverage over American economy. We've got to fix Washington so it's about results. We've got to grow the economy. Infrastructure investment. Find common ground and fix the budget. Too much division in Congress, need people willing to compromise. I have simple, straightforward plan to deal with sequester, deficit. It's time for specifics, it's time for action, it's time for working together.
Allen: We still don't know what Tim Kaine's plan is exactly, what impact on ExxonMobil will be (huh?!?). I envision better future. Anyone who drives a car, uses electricity, pays taxes, want a job, cares about their family's future should be on our side. Raises cap and trade (a Republican idea) to attack Tim Kaine (huh? Kaine wasn't even in Congress). Drill off the coast of Virginia (DRILL BABY DRILL!). We need to turn it around (blah blah blah). Make sure America is ascending once again (so, Allen believes America's on the decline - that's fascinating to know).