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Kaine and Allen disagree on most everything
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BY CHELYEN DAVIS
When Friday's jobs report came out, the response from Virginia's two Senate candidates was predictable.
Republican George Allen blamed "Tim Kaine's Washington allies," who he said "have hindered and obstructed much-needed investment, innovation and job growth with their excessive regulating and taxing policies."
Democrat Kaine echoed the themes national Democrats pressed in their just-ended convention--that they know the country has "a long way to go" to recover from the recession but that things are slowly getting better.
Both statements were typical of the two campaigns' themes, and indicate what voters can expect to hear from these two former governors in the final two months of the campaign.
Allen's campaign--like presidential candidate Mitt Romney's--has been built around criticism of Democratic policies in Washington, something to which he ties Kaine at every opportunity, and how he would do things differently.
His jobs statement put it in a nutshell: "The federal health care tax law, the assault on coal, the ban of Virginia offshore energy exploration and $500 billion defense cuts under a deal that risks over 200,000 Virginia jobs demonstrate the Washington Democrats' continued failure of placing their partisan agenda ahead of Virginia families," Allen said.
Kaine's campaign message--again, like President Barack Obama's--is that Republican policies helped create the poor economy and that Democrats are slowly righting the ship.
"We know that hard work and tough decisions remain ahead of us," Kaine said in his jobs statement. "I remain unsatisfied with the pace of economic growth, but I reject partisan political calls to return to the very same policies of lax regulations, reckless spending, and tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and corporations who don't need them which helped create this mess in the first place."
NATIONAL ISSUES ON THE TABLE
In many ways, the issues in this Senate race are similar to those in the presidential race--economic policies, environmental policies, debt and deficit strategies, how to deal with the increasing cost of safety-net programs.
At a debate at the Homestead in August, Allen raised the issue of "sequestration," the bipartisan package of dire federal budget cuts--including billions of dollars from defense--that Congress approved last year and never thought would take effect.
Now the cuts would actually start happening in January, and both sides are pointing fingers and searching for a way to avert them.