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Kaine, Allen Face Off in Debate Airing Live from McLean

Co-sponsor NBC4 to broadcast Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce event.

Former Govs. Tim Kaine and George Allen are competing for the favor of a relatively small percentage of Virginia voters in a U.S. Senate race that has captured the interests of the country.

Kaine, a Democrat, and Allen, a Republican and former senator, will face off in a debate at noon Thursday at the Capitol One Conference Center in McLean sponsored by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and NBC4. NBC will broadcast the debate live and stream it on its website.

The pressure is on because of Virginia's status as a bona fide swing state. The Old Dominion could very well determine not only the presidency, but which party controls the Senate.

The two candidates have been crisscrossing the state at a breakneck pace only to be locked in what's essentially a tie. The latest Real Clear Politics average shows Kaine with little more than a 2-percent lead, well within the margin of error in any worthwhile poll. Kaine's averaging 47.5 percent of the vote, compared 45.3 percent for Allen, according to that website.

"The most obvious thing at the debate is to not say anything inordinately stupid," said Geoffrey Skelley, a political analyst with the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

"For the most part, people have pretty much made up their mind about the presidential race and the down-ticket races," he said. "There's no lack in name ID or anything with (the Senate candidates). People who are actually going to watch this debate actually follow the race. And the people who will watch are probably going to think the guy they support won, no matter what happens. So the main trick is don't say anything foolish — Don't create a headline."

It's the last thing journalists — and partisan Republicans and Democrats — want to hear. But it's perhaps somewhat anticipated, given the noon live broadcast time of the debate, the first of three slated for October.

"They both have to stay on message, and I think it's especially important for George Allen to do so — especially in the vein of what happened six years ago with off-the-cuff comments," said Mark Rozell, a public policy professor who specializes in Virginia politics at George Mason University.

"2006 was quite a surprise to people who had followed George Allen over the years. He was noted for being very careful with his choice of language. For whatever reason, he seemed to lose that discipline in 2006 — and it cost him a campaign he should have won. It's especially important for Allen to be cautious in his choice of words and to stay very strictly on message."

Some disagreement exists about the number of people who call themselves independent versus those who are actually independent voters. Both candidates have made it a point to talk about their bipartisan ability, though Skelley said he believes that's just playing to what people like to hear.

"You've got this narrow sliver of the electorate who are undecided," he said. "But they are the least informed and may not even turn out. So what you've got is the battle of the bases… And you want to make sure they show up."

And so, with the electorate polarized perhaps more than it has been in years, the outcome of the Senate race could very well come down to how Virginia swings in the presidential race. President Barack Obama enjoys only an average 3-point lead over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, according to Real Clear Politics.

Republicans are counting on the electoral drive that led them to victory in Virginia in the 2009 gubernatorial race and 2010 state legislative races. Democrats are hoping more for a repeat of 2008.

But while the influence of the top-ticket race cannot be overlooked, it's not the only factor, either. 

"If anything, Kaine's campaign just doesn't seem to have electrified the core constituencies in Virginia — and that's not to say George Allen has," Rozell told Patch on Wednesday. "But even with his troubles in 2006, Allen has always had a certain core of intensely enthusiastic supporters going back to the 1990s. Although that has diminished, of course, from what it used to be — there still are those strong Allen loyalists. He builds that kind of personal loyalty that Tim Kaine just doesn't quite possess on the same level with his supporters."

A recent Washington Post poll showed that only jobs and the economy stands out as a major issue in this race. No other single issue topped 5 percent of likely voters calling it the most important, according to the Post.

Tied into that is the awkward issue of sequestration — something that may at least be familiar to news hawks or federal employees or contractors, but may not be on the tip of the tongue of Joe Six-Pack. Yet the one-time stopgap measure could turn into a multimillion dollar albatross around Virginia's economic neck, costing thousands of defense and related jobs in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

Because of the Northern Virginia locale, the issue is likely to come up — if not in a question, then by the candidates themselves. They've both been talking about it lately. A lot.

"It's kind of a weird situation. The most important issue in the overall economic picture of Virginia, and neither side seems to be able to get a leg up on this politically, because their parties agreed to it, because they couldn't come to an agreement," Skelley said. "It's hard for either candidate to credibly argue why they are more in the right than the other on this issue, because their parties agreed to it."

james gilley September 20, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Wha time? What day?
james gilley September 20, 2012 at 12:48 PM
What day? What time?
Karen Goff September 20, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Noon today. It says so in the second paragraph
Carolo September 20, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Good luck Tim Kaine. The less obstructionists in the White House, the better. If you had been there yesterday to vote, perhaps the Republicans would not have voted down the Job Bill for our returning veterans. Shame on them!
Jim Daniels September 20, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Senator Kaine has a nice ring to it!
Kathy Keith September 20, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Yes, thank you Tim Kaine for getting all those Democratic Senators elected who have not voted for a budget in three plus years.
Locally Involved September 20, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Is there a re-broadcast available or streaming after the fact? If so, please provide any details. Thanks so much!
William Campenni September 20, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Thank you Tim Kaine! Your proposal to tax everybody means that the 47% who now don't pay any income taxes at all will have to start paying taxes. Like Cory Booker, we are all wondering how long before Storm Troopers over at the Obama White House force you to back off that suggestion. The 47% who live in Virginia sure won't be happy to start paying taxes.
Fairfax Chamber September 20, 2012 at 07:40 PM
The Debate will be air again on Sunday, September 23 following Meet the Press: Press Pass Program
Catherine September 20, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Look that the damage Tim Kaine did as head of the DNC - helping promote Obamacare and serving at the whim of such geniuses as Pelosi and Reid. Here's hoping Virginians look at the partisan Tim Kaine - not the man he plays on TV commercials with his wife.
Barbara Glakas September 22, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Good try, Bill. Go ahead and try to make it sound like 47% of the population doesn’t pay taxes. Really? Here’s the real deal: Of the 47% who don’t pay INCOME taxes, 28% percent of them pay PAYROLL taxes. And of the remaining 18% who don’t pay payroll taxes, 10% of those are elderly, 6.9% earn under $20K and the remaining 1% are just classified as “other.” So I guess you could say it’s really just 1% who aren’t paying taxes when they should, unless you want to start going after the poor and elderly. Way to go.
Locally Involved September 22, 2012 at 12:49 AM
@Barbara - I might add that it's a majority of that 47% that pay social security payroll tax (temporarily reduced to 4.2% from 6.2% - yes, tax cut for those saying this admin raised taxes). That means an overwhelming percentage (I'd surmise a greater % in Fairfax county given our HH incomes) does NOT contribute as much as a percentage of their taxes. I think it's perhaps time to raise the social security tax to greater than $110k (after which social security taxes are NO LONGER taken from payroll taxes). The issue is not the dollar amount of taxes paid, as so many try to argue, but the % of income that is paid that is the issue. If there's a social security issue, then, have ALL pay into the system since ALL benefit from it, irrelevant of income (no means testing at this time). Wouldn't it be great if the 47% were only paying an average of 14.1% on average of taxes? That extra 14% in taxes not paid means so much more to those earning less than $250k a year than those with adjusted gross incomes over that amount. Is it perhaps because the 1% have more of their 'identity' tied to their wealth, therefore, if they pay, even the modest incremental amount of 2% increase in tax rate as proposed, they feel their identity is diminished? I don't know, just an thought.
Barbara Glakas September 22, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Kaine is partisan because he agreed to help our President? I couldn’t disagree with you more. When it comes to governing, Kaine is known to be very bi-partisan. He’s one of those guys who always tries to reach across the aisle and work with people of both parties, and propose compromise positions in order to get things done. And how about George Allen? I would consider his extremely partisan and divisive. For example: - In a speech while Governor, he encouraged the Republicans to knock the Democrats' "soft teeth down their whiny throats." -As Governor he called General Assembly members dinosaurs and monarchical elitists. - On this campaign he has already declared that he wants to be the 51st vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. - During one of his previous campaign stops he called a person in the audience “Macaca.” - As Senator, he opposed a state holiday commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. and voted against the 1991 Civil Rights Act. - In his current campaign for Senator he called Federal employees sanctimonious social engineers. - In his 2000 campaign for Senator he encouraged Republicans to “save our venom to use our opponents, the Democrats.” Where the bi-partisanship there? We don’t need more divisive people like this in the Senate.
William Campenni September 22, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Please define "macaca". Give references for your definition.
Kim September 22, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Macaca is a genus of Asian monkey, known as a macaque. When my husband was in Africa as a child, it was used as a term of insult (but not by my husband - he was a nice little boy!) directed at Africans, similar to the "N" word in the U.S.
Locally Involved September 22, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Macaca is a word used by George Allen in 2006 that began a controversy because it sounds similar to the French word "macaque". It was used as a racial slur against African immigrants in some European cultures. The reason this was such an issue is that (and still is) that Allen's mother was born in North Africa. The macaque's genus name, Macaca, is a latinization of the Bantu (Kongo) ma-kako, meaning "monkey". In an of itself, it may not have been such a big deal, but when combined with Allen's wearing of a confederate pin, in 1995, 1996, and 1997, Allen proclaimed April as Confederate History and Heritage Month and called the Civil War "a four-year struggle for independence and sovereign rights.", displayed a noose in his law office and a Confederate flag in his home - in its sum - there is an issue with Allen's obliviousness to the meaning of these symbols. No more would we tolerate the swaztika being used by a pol as a 'heritage' or symbol of 'pride" - we cannot given the history of our country and continuing civil rights struggles tolerate pols that just don't get it. Such a frame of mind influences attitude towards public policy that is to serve all the people. And, you can't do that if you have an unawareness of the people you serve.
Locally Involved September 22, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Thank you, Barbara. It seems anyone that supports OUR president (therefore this country) is considered partisan. Of course, it isn't partisan to oppose these policies. That road goes just one way. Remember last admin when those that disagreed with the war mongering were considered un-patriotic and un-American? Support a GOP pres, no prob. Support a dem president and you're partisan. They really don't get the disconnection. The only thing that gives me hope is Obama is going to win the fall election. Just a matter of by how much. Even despite the money and voter suppression tactics. If that doesn't send a message to the GOP, nothing will. There's an old saying that I'm sure I'm going to butcher, but it's something like "The lesson you needed to learn is directly proportionate to the size of the 2x4 that just smacked you in the head". Seems that applies to today's GOP.
William Campenni September 23, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Ah! Word-by-word from the Wikipedia website - and totally wrong. Bantu is spoken in eqautorial Africa and south of the Congo. Macaques are primarily an Asian primate and in Africa are only found in the north above the Sahara. The Bantu speakers would not even have seen, let alone named, a macaque. The worrd macaca used a a genus term for some macaques refers to the Indonesian macaques. Won't find many Bantu speakers in Jakarta! Swallowing the unvalidated monsense in Wikipedia is typical of the Democrats swallowing the pap and misinformation that comes out of the Obama regime. Can't wait for these kool-aid drinkers to start pledging allegiance to the new Obama flag.
Barbara Glakas September 23, 2012 at 12:40 PM
The “honorable” George Allen in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r90z0PMnKwI
Carol Lewis September 23, 2012 at 01:14 PM
William, regardless of the derivation of the word, it is a derogatory term and even Allen admits that. Everything Locally Involved said about him is true. He is totally tone deaf when it comes to symbols of repression and suffering. As for your reference to the "new Obama flag"... please. His flag is our flag and he is our President and like all presidents before him, he has an administration, not a "regime". I didn't like George Bush or his policies but for his terms, he was my president. Obama won and may win again. Get over it.
John Farrell September 23, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Mr. Campenni Are you denying that "macaca" is a pejorative and insult used in the former French North Africa by those of European descent and directed toward persons of color? Because if you are, you would be wildly mistaken and my source is several "peid noir."
Locally Involved September 23, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Mr. Campenni is a staunch conservative who is actively involved all conservative issues. A simple google search will show his perspectives in multiple conservative forums and news sites. ANY perspective other than his is the road to perdition. There is NO reasonable dialogue with him as any facts, any actual documentation - not opinion - that does not support his views is nothing more than 'liberal' propaganda. Don't even try. It won't matter and won't contribute to a productive, open, discussion. Allow him to continue hearing his own 'voice' on the Washington Times, etc. Like I said, it won't matter - Obama has the election as does Kaine.Conservatism as an ideology is in a state of disarray and will be as it sorts itself out in this time of change.
Kathy Keith September 23, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Carol, As far as your comment about the Obama flag being our flag--you may want to check out the Obama for American shop where you may buy an Obama flag for $35.00. At first glance, it appears to be an American flag with an Obama "O" where the starts normally are. Here is the link: https://store.barackobama.com/obama-2012-store-collections/artists-for-obama/our-stripes-flag-print.html
Kathy Keith September 23, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Kaine: 1. Gave away the Dulles Toll Road to MWAA. This is going to result in exorbitant increase of tolls for people west of the beltway. The tolls are already extremely high. It is expected that commuters will be paying $10 each way by the time the Metro opens. This does not account for the additional fees that those using the Greenway pay. 2. Kaine spent his last year in office as head of the DNC. He spent very little time on his day job as governor. 3.Kaines lobbied long and hard for the "Affordable" Health care act while at the DNC. This resulted in a devastating blow to our economy and an increase in health care costs to most consumers. 4. Kaine appointed a man to MWAA who has abused his office with misuse of funds. While Martire's actions may be legal, they are certainly not ethical or moral. Martire also helped stopped movement forward on the Metro by pushing for the requirement that only contractors with labor unions could bid. This from an appointee from a "right to work" state. I am not defending Allen's actions, but I do think it is questionable that it was intended as a racial slur. As far as voting records, I think that Allen would support an agenda which would improve the economy. Kaine has made it clear that he would support the Obama agenda.
Carol Lewis September 23, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Thank you, Kathy. I didn't know about the Obama flag and thought William was implying, as many do, that Obama serves some other country. As for your comment about whether Allen's macaca moment was meant as a racial slur, I think it was, given Allen's history of love of slave symbols and that it was directed in a nasty way at a man of color. He clearly thought the man was not from this country. In fact he was born in Virginia; Allen was not.
Kim September 23, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Mr. Campenni, if you had read my response above, you would see that my husband actually lived in Africa and knew the term "macaque" as a derogative term, similar to the "N" word in the U.S. Apparently that term was well-known in Africa at the time.
Barbara Glakas September 23, 2012 at 09:15 PM
I do in fact believe that Allen knew exactly what he was saying. Whether you want to call it a racial slur or an ethnic slur, it doesn’t really matter. It was a condescending insult, any way you want to look at it. And this is not an isolated incident. In addition to some of the comments that Allen has made in the past (that I cited in an above post), he also has a record of these things: -Three former college football teammates of Allen say that he repeatedly used the “n-word” and demonstrated racist attitudes toward blacks. -For a long time Allen refused to acknowledge his Jewish heritage. -He wore a Confederate flag pin for his high school senior class photo and had a Confederate flag in the front license plate frame. - He included a Confederate flag in one of his first TV campaign ads for governor. - He opposed a state holiday commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. - He voted against the 1991 Civil Rights Act. - He kept a Confederate flag and a hangman's noose in his Governor’s office. - He called General Assembly members dinosaurs and monarchical elitists. - He called Federal employees sanctimonious social engineers. At the very least, it could be reasonable to say that Allen is insensitive and tends to engage in bully-like behaviors. It is hard to imagine how would work cooperatively in the Senate, and fairly represent ALL the people of our diversely populated Virginia, or attract investors to Virginia, investors who respect diversity.

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