FROM: Brandi Hoffine, Kaine for Virginia
TO: Interested Parties
RE: Allen on Defense After Last Week's Debate
DATE: September 24, 2012
Following last Thursday's debate, Virginia political analysts, editorial boards, and fact checkers have called George Allen out for his misleading attacks and utter lack of solutions on key issues facing Virginians. Over the weekend, George Allen got one negative review after another for his tried rhetoric and vague, counterproductive proposals:
• Washington Post Editorial, "‘Gotcha’ on taxes in the Virginia Senate race won’t close the federal deficit," accuses Allen of "skirt[ing] most substantive discussion of taxes or the threat of automatic cuts looming in Congress."
• Roanoke Times Editorial, "Allen's mysterious tax views," calls Allen out for -- you guessed it -- a lack of specifics on key issues facing the nation like comprehensive tax reform.
• Politifact VA review gives Allen a straight FALSE for his hyperbolic claim that Tim Kaine "wants to raise taxes on everyone."
• New York Times write-up on Allen's efforts to make sequestration his key issue in the campaign slams Allen's proposed solutions, noting they would make current budget challenges worse: "His [Allen’s] suggestions: repeal the Obama health care law, although the Congressional Budget Office said a repeal would raise the deficit; expand domestic energy production on federal lands and use royalties to reduce the deficit; and put into effect a voluntary flat tax, which households could choose instead of the existing tax code. That, too, would most likely expand the deficit as taxpayers opted for the tax that saved them money"
Many of the same outlets praised Kaine for "relatively detailed proposals" and a "readiness to reach a balanced deal with Republicans," further magnifying Allen's unwillingness to say where he stands or break from rigid party ideology.
See below for more of the fallout of what one Virginia political analyst labeled Allen's 'painful' debate performance:
George Allen Lacks Specifics on Taxes or Sequestration, Some Ideas Would Add to Deficit
Washington Post: “[I]n their debate Thursday, the two candidates were true to form: Mr. Allen skirted most substantive discussion of taxes or the threat of automatic cuts looming in Congress, while Mr. Kaine offered a menu of options, including ending Bush-era tax cuts on families earning more than $500,000 and rolling back tax breaks for big energy companies.”
Roanoke Times: “And Allen? He managed to avoid saying anything substantive about "the 47 percent" during last week's candidates debate, though the moderator prodded each in turn for his reaction to Romney's view that Americans with no federal income tax liabilities are an irresponsible lot who look to the government to take care of their every need.”
New York Times: "His [Allen’s] suggestions: repeal the Obama health care law, although the Congressional Budget Office said a repeal would raise the deficit; expand domestic energy production on federal lands and use royalties to reduce the deficit; and put into effect a voluntary flat tax, which households could choose instead of the existing tax code. That, too, would most likely expand the deficit as taxpayers opted for the tax that saved them money."
New York Times: “Mr. Allen also suggested that Congress start with a bill, already passed by the House, that would cancel the first year of automatic defense cuts by shifting the cuts to domestic programs. But last Monday, when asked if he was endorsing that House measure, he would not commit.”
Allen’s No Compromise, All Cuts Approach Won’t Work
Washington Post: "He [Kaine] has stressed his readiness to reach a balanced deal with Republicans. Mr. Allen, by contrast, has kowtowed to anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist by ruling out any and all tax increases. That doctrinaire refusal to compromise is precisely the approach that has led Congress into impasse and stalemate."
Roanoke Times: “It is caught in the inherent contradiction of an uncompromising no-new-tax philosophy that insists on whacking away at taxes, refusing to replace lost revenue with other -- presumably fairer -- taxes and balancing the budget with spending cuts alone.”
Tim Kaine has a Plan
New York Times: “Mr. Kaine proposed letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire on incomes over $500,000, which he said would raise $500 billion; repealing tax breaks for oil and gas companies, to raise $24 billion; and allowing the federal government to bargain for lower prescription drug prices for Medicare, for a $240 billion savings. That would leave Congress to find $250 billion in spending cuts over 10 years to avert all the automatic cuts, defense and domestic.”
Washington Post: “Mr. Kaine offered a menu of options, including ending Bush-era tax cuts on families earning more than $500,000 and rolling back tax breaks for big energy companies.”
Allen Tax Attack Falls Flat
Politifact Virginia: “Even if you go beyond the debate statement the Allen camp points to and look at Kaine’s other major tax positions -- ending the Bush era cuts for those earning more than $500,000 and eliminating some tax deductions in exchange for lowering rates -- that does not equate to a plan that would raise taxes on everyone. We rate Allen’s statement False.”
Washington Post: “Mr. Kaine has not proposed such a thing, and his exhaustive published positions don’t mention it. As his campaign accurately pointed out, Mr. Kaine, as governor, was instrumental in raising thresholds so that tens of thousands of low-income Virginians were excused from paying state income taxes.”
Politifact Virginia: “Kaine did not endorse or promote the idea of all Americans paying a minimum federal income tax, he said he would consider it. Almost 75 percent of those who pay no federal income taxes are elderly, have low earnings, or have children at home, according to a 2011 study by the Tax Policy Center.”
New York Times: “Mr. Allen faces two risks. For one, the more he presses his case against the automatic defense cuts, the more opportunities Mr. Kaine has to demand a specific Allen program of deficit reduction to replace those cuts. For another, conservatives are questioning the fiscal bona fides of Republicans trying to undo the automatic cuts, which are known as sequestration.”
Roanoke Times: “Kaine, who as governor cut billions from the state budget and signed bipartisan legislation that took 140,000 low-income Virginians off the state's tax rolls, is in the unenviable position of having to assure voters he simply favors a negotiated compromise to reach a deficit-reduction deal.”
Robert McCartney [Washington Post]: “…Kaine didn’t advance it, the moderator advanced it and Kaine did not propose it, he said basically in the spirit of being willing to, you know, compromise, which he’s emphasizing that he wants to compromise, he’s open to ideas, he was open to consider it. His proposal calls for, which he talks about a lot, is to let the Bush tax cuts expire on everybody earning $500,000 a year or more. That’s his proposal. He was open to this other thing.”
Trevor Baratko [Loudoun Times Mirror]: “He was not touting that idea as his plan, he said he would be open to it, compromise has been a very critical element of the campaign for both of these candidates, so I think that was the message he was trying to say is, ‘Of course I’m going to go into the Senate, you know, and be open to this minimum tax.’ And I also, I was kind of puzzled to hear that it was big news from a partisan standpoint that the Democrat candidate would say, ‘Sure, I would be open for everybody chipping in a little something.’ And that was kind of my takeaway, and then certainly, as you mentioned, the Allen response to the 47% question—gosh, it was almost painful watching him try to skirt away from that.”