With the 2012 election season wrapping up, Virginia Tech held host to a final terse debate between Virginia's senate hopefuls last Thursday.
Former Gov. Tim Kaine and Gov. George Allen primarily discussed the upcoming issue of sequestration, a $1 trillion set of budget cuts that would go into effect at the end of 2012 should Congress fail to pass a budget.
At one point the candidates abandoned the rules of the debate and argued over Allen's claim that Kaine was holding military spending "hostage."
"I think it is very wrong to be using the 200,000 men and women in Virginia whose jobs are threatened by the sequestration deal that I opposed and Tim has said is the right thing to do. They should never be used as a political bargaining chip to raise taxes on job-creating small businesses," Allen said.
Kaine was quick to respond.
"George, you just started your answer by saying that I'm trying to hold the military hostage to raise taxes. You and I are both fathers and this one is very personal to me. I have a son who just started a career in the military," Kaine said.
Kaine also cited his experience with maintaining a high veteran affairs budget, as well as recruiting defense contractors such as Northrop Grumman to move their companies to Virginia.
Even when asked about the topic of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare”, Allen still chose to return to the issue of sequestration and military spending.
At this point, the two candidates squabbled over whether the term "hostage" was actually used.
"We both agree we've got to stop defense cuts, cuts that would hurt embassy security, and our other foreign policy imperatives including security in Libya. I say we can avoid defense cuts and keep our economy strong by these simple three steps: Bush tax cuts expire over $500,000, reform Medicare, and take tax subsidies away from oil companies," Kaine said.
Kaine went on to say that while Allen is against the sequestration cuts, his only way to avoid those cuts would be to repeal the Affordable Care Act and without compromising with the left.
Allen cited the attacks on US embassies in Libya, Africa, and the Middle East as reasons why the sequestration deal is "not only wrong, but...dangerous."
Allen went on to say the U.S. should not send money to countries that are not able to protect U.S. embassies, and that we should be "unified with Israel" against Iran gaining nuclear capabilities.
"We should have at least said we're for those in Iran who wanted a more free and just society, but this president stayed quiet," Allen said, attacking President Barack Obama.