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Big-Business Ad Hits Kaine After Endorsing Allen

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce began airing a new ad attacking Democrat Tim Kaine Thursday, one day after it endorsed Republican George Allen in Virginia's Senate race.

    Democrats estimated that the organization put about $620,000 behind the statewide television ad purchase, not counting production costs.

    The new ad is as notable for what it doesn't say as for what it says: It accurately notes that as governor from 2006 to 2010, Kaine sought new taxes. He twice proposed tax increases for transportation and prescribed an income tax increase along with his final budget in December 2009. Lawmakers unanimously rejected it.

    But the Chamber ad neglects Kaine's role in eliminating Virginia's estate tax and increasing the earning threshold for low-income residents that removed more than 100,000 households from the state tax rolls.

    It alleges Kaine supports “higher energy costs.” That is based on Kaine's testimony about sea level increases and climate change in September 2007 before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in which Kaine said he supported “cap-and-trade” legislation to control carbon gas emissions from power plants that burn fossil fuels, chiefly coal.

    The legislation never passed, and the ad doesn't note Kaine's support for authorizing oil and gas exploration off the Virginia coast, contrary to President Barack Obama's policy.

    It's not the first time the big-business advocacy group has aided Allen. It aired a pro-Allen spot in February that never mentioned Kaine. At the time, Allen was vying for the GOP nomination against three conservatives.

    The ad, titled “Wrong Track,” uses a railroad allegory throughout. The viewer glides down tracks as one billboard after another zips by, each making a new claim. As the ad closes, the track dead-ends off a deep cliff.

    The allegations are broad enough that they convey some truth. However, like most of the acidic political advertising by independent outside groups in Virginia and other battleground states with pivotal Senate races, the context is so lacking that a full, balanced understanding of the issue is impossible.

    For example, it notes Kaine's enthusiastic and well-documented support as Democratic National Committee chairman of Obama's health coverage reforms, the Affordable Care Act. It doesn't note Kaine's opposition to the White House's directive that required religious employers to provide coverage for contraceptives despite their beliefs. Kaine was Virginia's first Roman Catholic governor.