Debate started with welcoming by moderator George Stephanopoulos. As he said the race is turning into a barn burner that he didn’t want to miss. Questions would be coming from three members of the media that they developed and wrote themselves.
Candidates were introduced to applause of and standing ovations by their supporters. Allen had slightly larger number of people rise for his introduction.
Allen won the coin toss and started the opening statements. He welcomed everyone including his “friend, partner and teammate”, Senator John Warner. He kept his message simple with what he would like to continue to work on: 1. Widening 66 and improving transportation support, 2. Energy independence, and 3. Better Education. “Better place to live learn, work and raise our families.”
As Allen completed his opening statement Webb stood there with the deer in the headlights look on his face. He was waiting for Stephy to say his name – Good job Marine – way to be ready.
Then he starts his statement echoing the important issues Sen. Allen discussed. He started a story of reflection on a picture of his Grandfather that is in his office. By the way did you know his Grandfather was born in Franklin County? He’ll let you know in case you didn’t already know that.
He then jumped into why he is really running. Bush stinks and I’m here to fix it – or so he’d try to make you believe.
He also made reference to three Americas . . .sounds vaguely familiar to a Presidential and VP candidate in 2004 – but he only counted two Americas’ – where’d the third come from?
Sen. Allen was asked are their three Americas? No! “We have ONE America” he answered to a resounding round of applause.
Webb’s response: we have one America in a sense of people, but three America’s in an economic sense.
Sen. Allen will you follow Cong. Tom Davis in seeking voting rights for the citizens of DC?
Sen. Allen had a well prepared and thought out response. He supports making a federal enclave of the federal buildings and ceremonial part of the city and returning residential areas to Maryland. If Tom Davis bill passes house and finds its way to the Senate he would attempt to amend it to do just that.
Webb would support the Tom Davs plan.
Here it comes – hold on to your seats – Yes Maccaca – Your mother is from an area in the world that considers Maccaca a racial slur – did you really never hear the word before?
Allen: I made a mistake – thoughtless moment. I would have never used it if I knew it was insulting. My mother taught tolerance.
Then Peggy Fox asks the strangest question ever – do you have Jewish ancestry? That brought jeers from the audience. Allen was offended that a question like that was asked – we have a freedom of religion in this country and is religion or Webb’s religion should not be a matter of concern.
Webb echoed what Allen had said. However he continued to say “the incident takes us back to the politics of Karl Rove – personal rather than sticking to the issues.” What he regrets is that the Allen campaign has a commercial saying he was with the Reagan Administration for 10 months before he left.
Wal-Mart – Mr. Web Do you support the Wal-Mart boycott – considering you are endorsed by organized labor?
He never did answer the question directly, but rather went into talking about the need to expand collective bargaining and need to reinvigorate organized labor.
Allen’s response – We need to educate Mr. Webb that Virginia has a right to work law. Then he went on to present his ideas on health care: Health Saving Accounts, Small Business healthcare partnerships and litigation reform.
Stephy then asked Webb what his plan is to cover all Americans. He proclaimed that the Mitt Romney plan from Massachusetts is a good plan. Provide a sliding scale of coverage based on poverty rate. Sounds like a bureaucracy to me.
Webb did get in that he is not opposed to the right to work laws.
Embryonic Stem Cell research.
Sen. Allen – you voted against research would you reconsider if the benefits were proven?
Allen stuck to his guns to answer he does not support research or more accurately federal funding of research that destroys human embryos.
Webb supports based on the idea that the embryos used were created for IVF, and Nancy Reagan supports it.
Allen got a quick response in to say Webb should also listen to Nancy Reagan with regards to his ad using a Reagan speech.
Big topic number 2 – War in Iraq
Sen. Allen you supported war in Iraq – What are we fighting for?
Allen – we must win. What we should not do is invite Iran and Syria to be involved in development of Iraq’s future, as Mr. Webb has advocated.
Webb restates that going in was a strategic mistake. We should be working with everyone in the region – much like Nixon did with China in 1971.
Stephy throws in a quick question:
What is the primary difference between where we go from here in Iraq?
Webb says we need to work with others to reduce our combat troops in Iraq.
Allen points out that Webb is quick to criticize, but has no clear specific plan.
Sen. Allen you opposed motor voter laws as Governor of Virignia claiming they trample states rights, however you are supporting legislation that forces states to recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states. – isn’t that trampling states rights?
Allen – no, motor-voter laws were unfunded mandates that the federal government was pushing on the states. The concealed carry legislations simply says states need to recognize permits issued in other states. It just makes sense.
Webb found something that he and Allen agree on – and he got in that he grew up around guns and supports gun rights.
Mr. Webb would you vote to cut off appropriations to fund the war?
Avoiding the question, he answers the question by saying we need to work carefully and ask hard questions, and got in that we need a different type of leadership.
Stephy – got to the bottom – yes or no?
Webb – No that would not solve the problem.
Sen. Allen do you support the idea of splitting up Iraq in three sections?
Allen – no any change like that needs to come from the people of Iraq.
It’s time – Women in the Military
Mr. Webb you wrote about the women’s role in the military – are you sorry for anything you wrote.
Webb’s not sorry for discussing the issue or even making the statements he made, but does apologize for the “tone” of the article – whatever that means.
By they way – incase you didn’t know that was 27 years ago.
Allen – “Those are written words and written words are words you think about.” That got a decent reaction from the crowd.
Sen. Allen also got a jab in that he continues to disrespect women, but not listening to Nancy Reagan’s request to pull his ad.
Question that makes no sense to ask candidates for the United States Senate.
Would you encourage the Virginia General Assembly to come up with a tax package to improve transportation in Virginia?
Sen. Allen smartly responds to say he has no interests in meddling in state issues, however he does support improving the role of Federal Government in local projects and make sure we increase funding.
Webb response with three quick points: Agree with Allen need more public-private partnership, need to increase the percentage that VA gets back from every dollar VA gives by way of gas tax, and we have a great governor that he has good relationship with.
Time for Closing Statements
Allen – “You Know Me”
He reiterated his record of performance – As Governor he supported brining semi-conductor manufactures to Virginia – last year production of microchips out paced cigarette production in Virginia.
Webb starts his closing statement by stating Mark Warner deserves a little bit of credit for Virginia’s success – that brought cheers and jeers to the room.
He closed with his call for strong leadership, brining up poll data. Blah blah blah.
In the end I was very pleased to see the debate discussed many issues. They kept the same old issues that have been beaten to death to a minimum. Allen definitely showed that he is not the one trick pony Webb is. Webb showed very little depth in the issues. Beyond his ability to speak for himself on the issues of the War on Iraq he did little more then rattle off standard Democrat talking points.
One thing of note after the conclusion of the debate the media crowded both candidates. I listened to Webb’s interaction with the media for a couple of minutes. He had an interesting response to a reporter asking about Nancy Reagan’s request to pull the ad featuring Ronald Reagan. He brushed it off saying Nancy Reagan has never contacted him directly. The letter was signed by someone claiming to work for her and by the way Reagan was once a Democrat too.
4 mentions of Vietnam – 3 mentions that he has family from Southwest Virginia.
Categories: 2006 Elections_, Virginia Politics_, Blogging_