Virginia Candidates For U.S. Senate Square Off Again

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

September 18, 2006

For the second time in two days, Virginia’s two U.S. Senate candidates faced-off.

Republican Senator George Allen and Democratic Challenger Jim Webb debated in front of a crowd in Fairfax County Monday. The two tackled many issues and among them, funding for stem cell research.

"Yes, I would vote for it. I think you have to respect the weight of medical science," said Webb.

"I am for stem cell research. I've supported it and will, but not the type of funding for stem cell research that would destroy a human embryo," said Allen.

The candidates were also asked questions about the Commonwealth's transportation issue. Allen says he believes the General Assembly will work it all out.

"One thing that I would hope the members of the General Assembly will look at is the Public -Private Transportation Act. I was the lead on that as governor. It's a way of getting more private investment," he said.

"Virginia is only getting 91%, 91 cents out of every dollar that goes out of Virginia in terms of the gas tax revenues, and I would work hard to try to make sure that would be a full dollar at least," said Webb.

The candidates also weighed in on one of the key issues in the Senate race: the war in Iraq.

"What all our troops and their families are fighting for is the security of the United States of America. And this is the one issue that drives my opponent's campaign. There are actually, while he differs and criticizes the decisions that were made, I stand by my decision," said Allen.

"We've been divided from day one on it. Whether we should have gone in, which I believe was a strategic error," said Webb.

With less than two months until Election Day, it remains a close race. Experts say it's a good thing.

"It gives more national attention and it forces them to talk about issues," said Matt Smyth, with UVa's Center for Politics.

During the debate, both candidates also issued apologies. Webb said he was sorry for the tone of a 27-year-old article about women in the military and Allen apologized for calling a Webb campaign volunteer of Indian descent "macaca".

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