In the battle for the hotly contested Virginia’s US Senate seat, former senator George Allen today went on the offense in Northern Virginia.
“These defense cuts need to be stopped,” Allen said at the VFW Hall in Dale City, Virginia.
Allen was speaking about sequestration, the looming drastic automatic cuts in defense that the nation, and specifically Virginia, will face at the start of the year. Part of a deal negotiated by Congress last summer to avoid defaulting on the nation’s debt, a drastic $500 billion in defense cuts, among other federal spending cuts, will be made in January of 2013 if Congress does not figure out an alternative.
Allen’s message today was tailored to Virginia voters, and veterans aware of the importance of a large defense budget. Virginia is especially poised to be hit hard by the cuts. Over 200,000 jobs from major defense sites in the state of Virginia could be cut.
Allen told voters today that the blame should fall on his opponent, Democratic candidate Tom Kaine who supported the original deal last year.
“This deal they made last summer -- I opposed and my opponent was in favor of it,” Allen said today, “A few weeks ago we had a debate and he was asked do you now feel it was a mistake because of these looming cuts to our military readiness as well as over 200,000 jobs at risk in Virginia and his response was it was the right thing to do. And I thought the right thing to do for who? It's a failure of leadership."
Tom Kaine did support Congress’ original deal as a way to avoid the devastating consequences of the nation defaulting on their debts. But he does fully support, his campaign echoed today, to finding a way now to avoid the massive defense cuts that could come without a deal from Congress.
Kaine’s campaign also noted that as a former Senator himself, George Allen likely contributed to the poor fiscal station that necessitated such measures now during his years in Congress.
"George Allen's six years in the U.S. Senate voting for two wars and trillions in unfunded legislation helped create our fiscal mess,” Said Brandi Hoffine, Kaine for Virginia Communications Director.
But Allen today wasn’t only on the offense, especially when asked in an interview with ABC 7 if he supports Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan’s plan to reform Medicare. Allen appeared with Congressman on the campaign trail this week but has not aligned himself fully with Ryan’s controversial budget plan.
“I think that there ought to be a debate on it there will be a debate and we’ll see going forward,” Allen said today to ABC7, “I commended it for putting it forward. His whole plan- there’s a lot of elements to it. We’re running on our blueprint for America’s comeback.”
Voters in Virginia today said they’re ready for the campaign between two well-known Virginia politicians to be over.
“I am sick of seeing all the ads and getting all the stuff in my mail,” Voter Tracy Solberg from Occoquan said.
As the have been nearly from the start of this campaign, polls show that Allen and Kaine are neck and neck with just a few months left until November’s election.
The candidates are vying for the seat open by the retirement of Democratic Senator Jim Webb.