Kaine: Open to Federal Income Taxes on Everyone
McLEAN, Va. - Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen sparred over taxes, the role of government and how to address looming defense cuts in a televised debate Thursday, as Virginia's hotly contested Senate race heads into the home stretch.
Both candidates opened with paeans to "partnership," before launching into full-throated critiques of their opponents' perspective on a range of issues facing Virginia and the nation.
They mostly hewed closely to their well-worn campaign rhetoric, but Kaine veered into unchartered territory when asked by the moderator, NBC's David Gregory, about GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's recent comments regarding the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income taxes.
Pressed if everyone should pay at least some federal income taxes, Kaine replied, "I would be open to a proposal that would have some minimum tax level for everyone."
Allen quickly seized on the comment to bolster his argument that Kaine's solution to all problems is more taxes. "His solution to everything is to raise taxes," Allen told reporters after the debate.
Kaine tried to explain to reporters that he was simply trying to express the kind of openness to debate all ideas that he would have as a U.S. senator, not describing his preferred approach. Kaine spoke repeatedly during the hour-long face-off of his willingness to "compromise" and find "common ground."
Still, the taxes-for-everyone soundbite could be replayed in GOP television ads, without such context, many times in the coming weeks.
Full context for Kaine's comment after the jump.