October 8, 2012
(CHESTERFIELD COUNTY) -- In their first televised debate in primetime, U.S. Senate candidates and former Govs. Tim Kaine and George Allen discussed a variety of topics to give voters more insight into their platforms Monday night.
“We have a Congress that is so dysfunctional where people won’t work together,” said Kaine, the former Democratic governor.
“The question is which one of us can be accounted upon?” Allen rhetorically asked in his opening statement.
The League of Women Voters and AARP Virginia sponsored the event, dubbed the People’s Debate, held at the WCVE-TV public television station in Chesterfield County.
The debate focused on a number of topics, from affirmative action to illegal immigration and women’s issues. But one topic continually discussed was health care.
“I like solutions in Medicare that cut costs and save costs rather than shift costs on seniors’ shoulders,” Kaine said.
Allen said one of his improvements to the Medicare system is to gradually increase the age in which someone is eligible for Social Security.
The former Republican governor was also steadfast in his opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Allen says repealing and replacing it are ways to improve a lagging economy.
“We do need a balance. There need to be cuts to spending, [including] Obamacare. That will save over $1 trillion,” Allen said.
Many have said this Senate race in particular is crucial on the national stage. The winner of this race could determine which political party will control the Senate starting next year, which could be pivotal when it comes to decisions on taxes and spending.
“I know how to make cuts,” Kaine said, “but George has never shown any ability to make any cuts.”
Polls between both candidates have been close for months, with Kaine maintaining a small but steady lead over Allen. Political analysts say the presidential election could have a great impact on the Virginia Senate race, as the former governors could ride the coattails of the presidential nominees.
After last week’s debate, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are in a deadlock in the polls.
Time will tell if the candidates’ performances in the debate Monday night will have an impact on the polls in the Senate race.