Allen absorbs jabs from rivals in Va. GOP senatorial debate

April 29, 2012

By David Sherfinski-The Washington Times

ROANOKE — Former Sen. George Allen stuck to a mostly positive message of economic growth, energy independence and individual freedom Saturday, largely ignoring jabs from his GOP rivals in the first debate featuring all four Republican candidates running for Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat.

Mr. Allen, though he shared the stage with his three Republican opponents, kept his focus on Democratic nominee Tim Kaine and President Obama.

“I’m optimistic about America’s future,” Mr. Allen said during the forum hosted by the Republican Party of Virginia at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Roanoke. “We all need to keep smiling. You know why? We’re helping our fellow Americans catch their dreams.”

Mr. Allen, a former Virginia governor seeking to reclaim the Senate seat he lost in 2006 to retiring Democratic Sen. Jim Webb, did not pull punches when criticizing items like Mr. Obama’s health care overhaul, the cap-and-trade energy proposal supported by many Democrats, or “Washington liberals.”

“When I left the Senate, the annual deficit was about $160 billion, on the course to getting to a balanced budget,” he told reporters afterward. “Talk about how much of spending is being borrowed, and the estimates are about 33 cents of every dollar is being borrowed. In 2006, it was 5.9 cents. [There’s] been an exponential increase in spending. The spending has been an agent for this stimulus spending, which was promised to create all these jobs and has not. Tim Kaine is a supporter of that.”

Tea party activist Jamie Radtke lambasted Mr. Allen during the debate for his spending record in the U.S. Senate — as she has done since entering the race.

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