Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen is out with a new ad as he prepares to debate Democrat Tim Kaine in Richmond on Monday evening, pointing to an issue that has become a central theme of his campaign — the looming $500 billion in additional defense cuts and, potentially, the loss of hundreds of thousands of Virginia jobs — that resulted from an agreement by Congress to raise the debt ceiling in the summer of 2011.
“If Washington doesn’t do its job, will we still have ours?” a narrator asks in the 30-second spot, titled “Still.” “Will our military still be strong?”
“Tim Kaine supported last year’s debt deal that will impose devastating defense cuts, threatening Virginia jobs,” the ad continues. “George Allen opposed it. Kaine attacked him and insisted the deal was ‘the right thing to do.’ George Allen’s plan stops the defense cuts, creates jobs and grows our economy, because George Allen knows his job is to fight for ours.”
Mr. Kaine supported the deal that has resulted in the specter of so-called sequestration cuts absent action from Congress before next year, but now says he wants to work to prevent the cuts that could potentially devastate Virginia’s defense-heavy economy. Mr. Allen, meanwhile, has consistently opposed the deal and has made it one of the central planks of his campaign.
Mr. Kaine’s camp hit back, saying that the Democrat has laid out a specific plan to help reduce the deficit and reverse the sequestration cuts: let the Bush-era tax rates expire for income above $500,000, allow prescription drug price negotiations for Medicare, and end government subsidies to the country’s five largest oil companies.
“George Allen was willing to let our government default on its obligations rather than join his own party’s leaders in a compromise — a position that led to a downgrade of our nation’s credit rating,” Kaine spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said. “So it’s not surprising that the ideas he’s furthering make deep defense and domestic cuts more likely, not less.”
The two candidates in the neck-and-neck race are scheduled to square off in the second of three stretch-run debates Monday at 8 p.m. It is to be aired on local television, as well as C-SPAN.