Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
Allen ad focuses on Kaine DNC job as governor
In a new ad out today, Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen is continuing his criticism of rival Democrat Tim Kaine’s decision to take on the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee during his last year as governor.
Kaine became DNC chairman in 2009, at the request of just-elected President Barack Obama. The national role took him around the country and onto national TV news shows to talk about Obama’s policies.
Allen has made much of Kaine’s year in that dual role, accusing Kaine of putting partisan politics ahead of Virginia’s needs as the recession picked up steam in 2009. It’s part of an Allen argument that Kaine would essentially be a yes-man for Obama as senator.
In the new ad, a clip of Kaine saying, “I am doing what the president wants me to do” plays not once but twice — although that clip is actually from an interview months after Kaine left the governor’s office, says the Roanoke Times. A male voice then says Kaine abandoned Virginia by “putting the President’s harmful agenda first. Supporting his failed stimulus, national energy tax, government takeover of healthcare. And the deal leading to defense cuts that threaten 200,000 Virginia jobs.”
The “national energy tax” refers to the “cap and trade” bill to regulate emissions; ”government takeover of healthcare” is the Affordable Care Act”. The defense cuts reference means the “sequestration” cuts that members of Congress of both parties supported last year as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling. Kaine supported the deal but says — like most of those who supported it — he wants Congress to find a compromise to avert the cuts, which would take effect in January.
When Allen has brought up the DNC issue before, Kaine has pointed to accomplishments in Virginia during that year when he was both governor and DNC chair. That year, the state banned smoking in restaurants, and Kaine also points to several business deals inked that year and expansion of land conservation programs.
The Kaine campaign says Allen is being hypocritical — he had no issue, the Kaine folks say, with former Republican governor Jim Gilmore serving as RNC chair in his last year as governor. They also point out that Allen himself served as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee as governor — also a partisan job and one in which Allen vowed to expand the number of Republicans in the U.S. Senate.
Allen was in Fredericksburg Tuesday morning to talk to federal contractors.
He said after his talk that he has raised the issue of Kaine’s DNC service because Kaine has pointed out how the economy nosedived during his term as governor — meaning, Allen said, that Kaine says the economy was bad while he simultaneously chose to leave the state for DNC work.
“Tim is the one who was describing his governorship as such terrible times,” Allen said. “He did not give Virginians his full attention.”
Asked why Kaine’s DNC job was different from Gilmore’s RNC job, Allen said Gilmore isn’t the the one making a point of the difficult economy during his term. And, Allen said, Gilmore isn’t in this race.
“This is a choice between George Allen and Tim Kaine and their records as governor,” Allen said.