Timothy M. Kaine released a pair of new ads Wednesday portraying him as a centrist, as a liberal group launched a spot using selective editing to attack Kaine’s foe, George Allen.
Kaine (D) and Allen (R), both former governors, are locked in a tough race to succeed retiring Sen. James Webb (D). Both candidates are advertising heavily, and a new Washington Post poll of Virginia shows Kaine opening up an 8-point lead over Allen among likely voters.
Kaine has long touted his willingness to compromise and reach across the aisle as a key part of his campaign message, and his new commercials reinforce that theme. The first, “Partner,” touts his ability to work with presidents from both parties.
“As governor, I worked with the Bush administration to build rail to Dulles, and with the Obama administration to stop an aircraft carrier from moving out of Virginia,” Kaine says in the ad.
If elected, he says, “I’ll partner with whoever’s president of the United States to do what’s right for Virginia.”
The second spot, “Middle Ground,” portrays Kaine’s proposal for dealing with the expiring Bush tax cuts as a compromise between President Obama’s plan and Allen’s.
While Allen wants to extend all the tax cuts and Obama wants the tax cuts to expire on income over $250,000, Kaine proposes extending the tax cuts up to $500,000. “This reduces the deficit, avoids devastating cuts to defense, education and Medicare and saves jobs,” Kaine says.
In response, the Allen campaign said Kaine had not done enough to keep military jobs in Virginia, particularly before the Pentagon’s closure of Suffolk-based Joint Forces Command. And it sent a statement from Del. John Cox (R-Ashland), who cited Kaine’s proposals to raise taxes when he was governor.
“Tax increases have long been Tim Kaine’s only ‘solution’ to addressing fiscal challenges,” Cox said.
Meanwhile, the pro-Democratic Senate Majority PAC released an ad of its own saying that Allen “called programs like Medicare and Social Security ‘a waste.’ ”
But the ad appears to take comments from Allen out of context. In the 2009 Fox News Channel interview cited by the ad, Allen is reacting to reports of lavish spending on parties by the U.S. Postal Service. Medicare and Social Security were not discussed.
“Whatever the government program is, no matter how essential it is, it is waste,” the ad quotes Allen as saying.
But it leaves out his next line, “There is constant waste in it,” suggesting that every government program has waste, rather than saying every government program is simply waste, period.
“It’s clear Tim Kaine’s allies are so desperate that they are resorting to cutting up statements and assigning their own subject lines to create attack ads,” said Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis.
While the Senate Majority PAC ad targets Allen, conservative groups like Crossroads GPS have spent far more on ads in Virginia than liberal groups have, with Democrats and some fact-checking groups accusing Crossroads of peddling misleading information.