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Va. Senate candidates Kaine, Allen debate

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MCLEAN, Va. (AP) — Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine have avoided any obvious gaffes or stumbles in the third of five debates in Virginia's pivotal Senate race. But they showcased distinctively different messages.

Kaine called for a thaw in the frigid partisan atmosphere that has largely paralyzed a divided Congress. Allen steered his answer to every question back to the issue of the troubled economy and jobs.

Even questions about women's rights and gay marriage found Allen answering with allusions to unemployment rates topping 8 percent for nearly four years and a regulatory and tax environment.

Kaine kept going back to Allen's bare-knuckled partisanship, citing his 1994 exhortation to fellow Republicans to knock Democrats' soft teeth down their whiny throats.

Thursday's debate is hosted by the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce.

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