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Location: Strasburg, Virginia

Friday, October 28, 2005

Kilgore cries foul on alleged Kaine ad; B1

By Garren Shipley
(Daily Staff Writer)

An unreleased ad allegedly produced by the Tim Kaine campaign is a violation of an agreement not to use excerpts from debates, and proof that the Democrat isn’t trustworthy, Republican Jerry Kilgore charged Wednesday.

Kilgore, the GOP candidate for governor, made the accusation on a conference call with reporters after The Washington Post ran a story stating that two Republican staffers said they were asked to participate in an online opinion study.

The two women said the Kaine campaign showed them an ad that used footage from the September debate in McLean, in which moderator Tim Russert pressed Kilgore for an answer on whether he’d sign a ban on abortion.

Kilgore demurred when Russert asked for a yes or no answer, saying he wouldn’t answer a hypothetical question.

Russert pressed Kilgore further.

“If the legislature passed a tax increase, would you sign it?” Russert asked.

“I would veto a tax increase,” Kilgore said.

“That’s a hypothetical question,” Russert snapped, drawing raucous applause and laughter from the crowd.

The survey had one purpose, according to Kilgore’s campaign — to see if voters would penalize Kaine for breaking the “no-use” pledge by releasing such an ad during the closing days of the campaign.

Doing so violates the traditions of Virginia politics, the candidate said. Both Gov. Mark R. Warner and former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder insisted on “no-use” rules in their debates.

“Tim Kaine can put this to rest immediately, and say that he won’t violate the ‘no-use’ agreement,” Kilgore challenged.

Kaine’s press secretary, Delacey Skinner, wouldn’t confirm or deny whether or not the campaign had such an ad, but said repeatedly that the campaign hadn’t violated any of the debate agreements.

She did say that Kilgore is making noise about the incident to draw attention away from his stand on abortion.

At this point in the campaign, “they are desperately trying to turn the issue of trust around,” she said. “They have been very clear in giving Virginians no good reason to trust them.

“He’s had three opportunities at three different debates and he hasn’t done it, many opportunities when the press has asked him,” Skinner said. “With the latest death penalty smear ads, he’s made it very clear that he just doesn’t have any regard for the truth at all.”

Kilgore said his opposition to the alleged commercial is about much more than having an embarrassing debate moment potentially replayed in the closing days of the campaign.

Virginians have had ample opportunity to see his exchange with Russert, Kilgore said.

“It’s been all over the airwaves,” he said. “C-SPAN’s shown it a dozen times. Clips of that debate were shown by every news outlet throughout the commonwealth. It’s already out there.”

“The most important issue about this episode is trust,” he said. “Where I’m from, when you give your word, you keep it.” The debate agreement is backed by a signed piece of paper.

Voters should find that of particular import, Kilgore said, considering that Kaine has “given his word” that he won’t interfere with death sentences despite his opposition to the death penalty.

“He hasn’t signed an agreement on the death penalty or on gun rights or on taxes,” Kilgore said.

Election Day is Nov. 8.