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Candidates' Fiscal Positions Flip in Va. Senate Race Candidates' Fiscal Positions Flip in Va. Senate Race

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Candidates' Fiscal Positions Flip in Va. Senate Race

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Former Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, left, gestures as former U.S. Sen. George Allen listens during the Virginia Bar Association's senatorial debate at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Va., Saturday, July 21, 2012. ( AP Photo/Steve Helber)    (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

From National Journal Daily:

Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is trying to pull off a rare feat for a Democrat: running to the right of his GOP rival on fiscal matters.

Kaine, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, pitches himself as the penny-pinching candidate and casts George Allen, a former GOP governor and senator, as the budget-busting alternative. It's not just a passing fancy, but a central theme of Kaine's candidacy.

Senior Kaine strategist Mo Elleithee calls it a "defining issue." Allen's camp has another word for it: disingenuous.

As the election nears, the jockeying for the mantle of fiscal conservative has been done so far on the campaign trail and on the airwaves. It will be done face-to-face next week when Kaine and Allen square off in a debate.

Allen's campaign is incredulous about the line of attack. "Being lectured by Tim Kaine on deficits and debts, and at the national level, is ridiculous when you look at his unabashed support of the president," said senior strategist Dan Allen, who is no relation to the candidate.

But lecturing is what Kaine has done in his first wave of television ads. First, he touted cutting $5 billion from the state budget. Then, in an ad unveiled this week, he filleted Allen for increasing spending as governor and ballooning the federal deficit as well as voting to raise his own pay as senator (although both Allen and Kaine cut their own pay as governor). "Now that's a real difference," Kaine says, looking into the camera, his blue shirtsleeves rolled up.

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