The Washington Post is spotlighting several political issues that have been prominent during the 2005 campaign. Today's topic: leadership.

* Background Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, the Democratic candidate, has been talking for more than a year about the role of leadership in the election. Kaine says his support for the tax and spending increases of 2004 and his record as mayor of Richmond are examples of good leadership. Republican Jerry W. Kilgore has emphasized his record as secretary of public safety during the administration of George Allen and his service as state attorney general.

* The Debate Kaine criticizes Kilgore for wanting to put the 2004 spending plan to a referendum. "Leaders led, and chickens ducked," Kaine said. He says leaders must act decisively whether the issue is a long-term goal or an emergency. Kilgore says he would be a leader who trusts the people on such issues as taxing and spending. Regarding emergencies, he says: "Serving Governor George Allen as secretary of public safety, we responded to floods, hurricanes and blizzards."

* The Race The winner of the Nov. 8 election will become Virginia's chief executive, managing the administrative branch of state government, directing responses to major emergencies, appointing officials and reviewing the bills passed by the General Assembly.