Allen, Kaine square off in first debate

Posted at 9:20 AM, Dec 08, 2011
and last updated 2012-02-23 15:04:45-05

RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) – Two former governors traded barbs Wednesday afternoon in the first debate of Virginia's crucial U.S. Senate race.

The Associated Press hosted the 90-minute debate between frontrunners Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine.

For the most part, the panel of four journalists asked Allen and Kaine questions, but both were allowed to directly ask each other questions.

Kaine opted to attack Allen on his Senate record while Allen focused his attack on Kaine’s term as governor.

Allen grilled Kaine on his support of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus plan. However, Kaine said the stimulus plan was necessary to bail out banks and auto companies to prevent additional loses.

Additionally, the candidates differed when it comes to a national health care bill.

Kaine said he supports the president’s healthcare plan, but thinks it does need some adjustments.

However, Allen said one reason he does not support the plan because it is too expensive and could force some small businesses to close.

The AP did not invite six other candidates, including Republican Jaime Radtke, because they did not meet poll performance or fundraising requirements.

As a result, Tea Party protesters gathered outside the state Capitol since Radtke was not included in the forum.

Gov. Bob McDonnell stopped by before the debate to meet with the candidates.