Presidents Bush, Obama at center of Virginia Senate debate

Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat from Virginia, former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, left, speaks as Republican candidate, former Sen. George Allen, right, takes notes during a debate at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012.
AP Photo/Steve Helber

In the last of five debates between the two Virginia Senate candidates -- former Republican Sen. George Allen and former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine - each tied the other to less-than-revered presidents and policy proposals

"Tim wants to be President Obama's senator," Allen said of Kaine, pointing to his support of Obamacare, environmental regulations and tax increases for the wealthy.

"I do not think it's anti-Virginia to support the president of the United States," Kaine shot back. "I will always work the president of the United States to be a partner."

Allen also criticized Kaine, who also served as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011, for neglecting his responsibility as governor, a position he held from 2006 to 2010.

"He had a choice to make," Allen charged, adding that "he chose to leave to raise money and advocate for policies harmful to Virginia."

Kaine turned the tables on Allen for supporting President George W. Bush "96 percent of the time." Allen served one-term in the Senate from 2001 until 2007 but was beat by Democrat Jim Webb -- who is retiring after one term -- by less than 10,000 votes after being caught on camera calling a Democratic operative "macaca", which is considered a racial slur.

Kaine said Allen's Senate votes led to ballooning deficit and a recession. He pointed to Allen's votes for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for expanding the Medicare prescription drug program, which Kaine described as a "$25 billion giveaway" to pharmaceutical companies, and the Bush-era tax cuts - and argued all were passed without the funds to pay for them.

"George's record when he was a United States senator was fiscal irresponsibility and harsh partisanship," Kaine said.

"I have worked across party lines and I want to work with Republicans and Democrats to get this economy going," Allen said in defense.

The race between Allen and Kaine has been closely contested and the outcome is crucial for both parties as the Republicans seek a Senate majority while Democrats are hoping to maintain control.

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for