Morning Read: Politico Gives Kaine the Win in Debate

Politico’s David Catanese writes, “The first impression I had after the 90-minute sparring session between Tim Kaine and George Allen in Richmond on Wednesday was that Kaine emerged the victor.  It wasn’t a sweeping win that will change the tight trajectory of the race, and Allen didn’t make any jolting mistakes -- but it is clear that Kaine is a more disciplined and pointed debater.” 

Catanese said Kaine succeeded in branding Allen as having “little fiscal credibility to launch critiques on the Obama agenda because of his own voting record,” and as a “partisan” who “represents the politics of division.”

The Richmonder blog is already calling the race, writing, “Allen lost the debate yesterday, and probably the election.”
Still, the Washington Times reports Allen said in an interview “that fiscal-minded voters and tea party activists won’t support” Kaine, despite Kaine’s overtures to Tea Party supporters. Allen said of Kaine, “He’s for this massive stimulus spending which he says is going to jump-start this economy but which only left us deeper in debt and without the jobs that were promised.” 
Allen hit Virginia Beach Thursday “to interact with potential voters and raise campaign cash from supporters,” the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot reports.
* Mitt Romney was in Richmond Thursday to raise funds for his presidential campaign, the Washington Examiner reports. The Romney campaign “expected the event to raise about $350,000, putting Romney's Virginia fundraising above $1 million for the quarter.” Gov. Bob McDonnell had been scheduled to drop by the event, but cancelled due to the shooting at Virginia Tech.
* The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Del. Bob Marshall, who is considering a statewide campaign, criticized Kaine “for what he views as an attack on his ‘personhood amendment,’ which would define life as beginning at conception,” in Wednesday’s Senate debate. Kaine said a personhood amendment “would criminalize contraceptive use,” and Marshall “took Kaine’s comments as an attack on his bill specifically.”
* Alexandria’s Del Ray Patch reports “one-time and potentially future Virginia gubernatorial candidate” Terry McAuliffe dropped by Del. David Englin’s holiday party Wednesday night, where he “spoke in his trademark enthusiasm of creating jobs in Virginia and galvanizing the Democratic party ahead of next year’s elections.” McAuliffe said, “I am sick and tired of playing defense.  We need to be on offense.  We have a great opportunity in front of us.  Obama carried the state in 2008.  We gotta do that again.  We gotta get Kaine in the U.S. Senate.”
* The Hampton Roads Daily Press reports Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who will “play a significant role in the state Senate” next year due to the 20-20 party split, says he “doesn’t expect to see a ‘great pendulum shift in public policy.’” Bolling told the Daily Press editorial board, “Those 20 Republicans in the Senate are not monolithic thinkers.  Nobody should think that just because a bill gets introduced by a Republican it’s going to pass the state Senate.”
* Blue Virginia reports PAC is endorsing retired Brig. Gen. John Douglass in Virginia’s 10th District U.S. House race. Douglass, a Democrat, is challenging Republican incumbent Rep. Frank Wolf.
* Blue Virginia writes that the Fairfax Democratic Committee is calling on Fairfax County Clerk of Court John Frey to resign now that he has entered the Republican race for state attorney general. County Democratic Chairman Rex Simmons said, “I don’t care whether he runs or not, but Fairfax County taxpayers should not be subsidizing Mr. Frey’s campaign to the tune of $135,000 a year while he gallivants around the state seeking votes.”
* The Washington Post reports defeated Virginia House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong may move to Richmond in order to “expand his law practice.  But he admits it sure wouldn’t hurt him politically.” The Martinsville Democrat, who could run for governor or attorney general, said, “If I do run for statewide office, having a more central location would be helpful.”
* The Post says spending in 13 Virginia state Senate races topped $1 million this year “as Republicans and Democrats battled for control of the chamber,” while just two state House races hit seven digits.
* The Post says 2012 could be a big year for Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley as he leads the Democratic Governors Association into a presidential election year. The Post says Democratic leaders like O’Malley and Warren “are viewed as less politically toxic than former House speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the party’s old guard,” and “Democratic strategists say such new faces will be called on with increasing frequency to energize the party base in 2012.” O’Malley is said to be eyeing a national campaign in 2016.
* The Frederick News-Post reports Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, and Washington counties “are teaming up” to hire two lobbyists to present the counties’ case in Annapolis during the next legislative session.
* Washington City Paper reports Kevin Chavous Jr. won the endorsement of the Ward 7 Concerned Citizens Coalition in his Democratic primary campaign against D.C. Council incumbent Yvette Alexander.
* The Post says the “unbelievable-but-true story of Marion Barry may be coming soon to a flat-screen TV near you -- starring Eddie Murphy as D.C.’s former mayor-for-life.” HBO Films is developing the project, to be directed by Spike Lee.
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