On the same day that the Washington Post reported that Senator Allen had not disclosed stock options to the Senate ( Stock Options Held by Allen Not Disclosed to Congress ) the media was treated to a sterling debate between the current senator and the democratic hopeful, candidate Jim Webb.
The debate was a tightly knit affair with a small studio audience sitting silent whilst these two candidates, one with so much to lose, one with so much to gain, took questions from a panel and each other. ( Washington Post – Allen, Webb in Final TV Debate, Fox News – Allen, Webb in Final TV Debate )
It was not long before the Republican incumbent returned to his usual form, and began a carefully targetted series of personal attacks on both Webb and the Democratic party. Time and again questions were skirted with show-boating references to fellow Democrats Hilary Clinton and John Kerry. Issues such as race, religion, and same sex marriage were deftly avoided by the Senator, and his time keeping left much to be desired with both his answers and questions frequently exceeding the allotted time.
In contrast Webb seemed initially uncomfortable under the studio lights, until he warmed to the fact that he seemed to be both better prepared and better accepted than his opponent. He covered difficult questions regarding his past comments on women in the military, and same sex marriages, with a tactful and honest approach that was in stark contrast to Senator Allen. Where he lacked the senator’s showbiz camera appeal, he still managed to score points for his obviously passionate answers, and tenacious questioning.
The debate itself will be heavily reviewed in the morning’s papers, and has been aired nationally on both television and radio. However, the question has to be how many of Virginia’s own voters will have watched this debate, and how many of them will step up to vote on November 7, 2006.
Read more about the campaign here Wikipedia – Virginia United States Senate election, 2006