HOT SPRINGS, VA (AP) -- The first debate of this fall's Virginia Senate race between Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen shaped up as a contentious, partisan squabble over which candidate is more partisan.
Allen opened the debate by tying Kaine to potential defense cuts of up to $500 billion that would hit Virginia disproportionately, and Kaine tagged Allen for voting in his earlier Senate term for trillions in new federal spending.
But as the debate wore on, responses inevitably returned to partisanship. Allen slammed Kaine as a lackey for President Barack Obama from two years heading the Democratic National Committee. Kaine reprised Allen's long-ago exhortation that Republicans knock Democrats "soft teeth down their whiny throats."
Kaine says Allen is a shrill partisan who voted as a senator for trillions in federal spending.