Webb and Allen are debating tonight. I’m watching with about a 20 minute delay, because at 8 pm I was putting the kids to bed. But I’m blogging as I watch, so it’s almost liveblogging.
Allen: Trying to associate Webb with Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and liberal national Democrats. He’ll raise your taxes.
Webb: How you’re doing depends on where you stand — 2/3 of Americans think we’re heading in the wrong direction. Republicans claim Iraq is a front in the global war on terrorism, but aren’t willing to risk their family members. Have great hospitals, but 15 percent of Americans are uninsured.
Allen: Trying to associate himself with Secretary Baker and Senator Warner (who is very popular in Virginia). Want to bring troops home, but in victory. "We’re liberators, not occupiers."
Webb: Agrees with Baker — needs to be a diplomatic solution, US needs to state that we have no desire for long-term bases in Iraq. Can attack terrorism in Iraq from troops that are based outside of the country. Need creative leadership.
Allen: "Baseless allegations." Look at my record in Congress. "I don’t recall using that world." lists his endorsements.
[Allen is doing a much better job of looking at the cameras. Webb keeps looking at the moderator, and when he’s not look at him, he seems to be casting his eyes down — at notes? at the live audience?]
Webb: Been talked to death. "bullying" of a staffer. Lists his diverse endorsements.
Women in the military:
Webb: Article was 27 years ago. Look at my record as Secretary of the Navy — opened up positions for women. Look at my campaign staff — lots of women leaders. Very comfortable with the current US military position on women in combat. Raises Allen’s record of opposing women at VMI.
Allen: Webb has written stuff more recently 1997-1998. Allen is proud of his record as Governor.
Secrecy in Government:
Allen: More information should be online. Should be more sunlight on the spending process. More scrutiny of taxpayers money — no more bridges to no where. Should be a line item veto.
Webb: Number of classified items has skyrocketed. Sign of the weakness of Congress and a one-party system.
Webb: I oppose it, and will vote against it. I’m a Christian, and believe marriage is a union between man and a woman, but government isn’t going to take sacrament away. Second paragraph goes too far, takes away rights from couples.
Allen: Support it and will vote yes. Marriage is fundamental to society.
Allen: Nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. Shouldn’t reward illegal behavior. Opposes amnesty, supports fence. Voted against Senate bill.
Webb: Oppose both House and Senate bills. This Administration has failed to address illegal immigration — talk about it, but haven’t done anything. Shelters for day laborers remove the burden from local businesses.
Webb: I have been talking about China for 19 years. China is developing a strategic relationship with Moslem world. Have allowed them to devalue their currency.
Allen: Taxpayers Bill of Rights. Balanced Budget, line item veto, supermajority for spending faster than the rate of inflation.
Allen: Biodiesel is great. US needs to reduce dependence on foreign fuels. But can’t be piped, needs to be trucked. Need more plants.
Webb: Allen’s energy plan is to give tax breaks to oil companies. We need government incentives — solar, biodiesel, nuclear.
Webb: Designed to remedy the evils of slavery. But now expanded to every ethnic group — only white males are excluded. Should be restricted to African Americans, who suffered from
Allen: American Indians have also been excluded — went back to energy question.
Allen to Webb: Tax Relief — you said we can’t afford war and tax cuts
Webb: Tremendous migration of wealth toward top 1 percent. Huge deficits — need revenues. Where is that going to come from? Suggests closing loopholes in corporate taxes. Can’t keep spending like this without increasing revenue.
Allen: Do you know how many Virginians benefit from tax cuts you oppose.
Webb: you allowed tuition tax credit to die.
Webb: How can you vote for Congressional pay raise and not for minimum wage?
Allen: needs to provide relief for small business — supported minimum wage [as part of trifecta that would have provided $10 million estate tax exemption, tax cuts] Class warfare, Hillary Clinton.
Webb: You’ve never voted for a clean minimum wage increase. I actually thought the estate tax cut proposal was reasonable.
Allen: Wiretapping/Habeas Corpus.
Webb: We all want security. But with no oversight, don’t know who you’re listening to. This Administration rejects any type of oversight, whether from Congress or Judiciary. Need to make sure they’re not listening to Colin Powell or George Allen.
Allen: Don’t need detainees filing lawsuits asking for DVDs and high speed internet.
Webb: Listen to McCain, Warner, need to make sure that whatever we’re doing is compliant with Geneva Convention — need to have the moral high ground.
Webb: Asked about some islands off the coast of Taiwan. Allen had no idea what he was talking about. Neither did I. Webb passed on his 30 seconds at the end. I have no idea what he was trying to accomplish here.
Should Hastert resign?
Webb: How leadership handles these questions demands accountability. Haven’t followed this in detail.
Allen: I find this behavior despicable. I support a full investigation — anyone who is guilty should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, stripped of pensions.
Allen: Susan and I thank you. Ideas, experience, track record matters. Tax cuts, 9/11, not letting enemies clog our courts matters. Hillary Clinton.
Webb: "how absurd some of the things George Allen has said." Referendum on this administration. Allen votes with Bush 97 percent of the time, 100 percent of the time on foreign affairs. Opportunity to return to the Democratic party. Principal duty of elected officials should be to speak for those who have no voice.
I have to say I think Allen did a better job with the debate. Not on substance, but I think he looked more relaxed and stayed on message better. Webb got bogged down in details and was a bit too reactive — got stuck saying "you’re mischaracterizing me" rather than "this is what I believe in." He needs to be more aggressive on the tax cut issue — that spending eventually needs to be paid for, and that most Americans don’t want to saddle their children with debt.
See also my post Why liberals should be enthusiastic about Jim Webb, over at Gather.com. I think you can read it without registering, although you need to register in order to comment.