Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerFive Senate Democrats reportedly opposed to Biden banking nominee The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — US mulls Afghan evacuees' future MORE (D-Va.) made his centrist pitch to voters on Friday, telling local Chamber of Commerce leaders during a forum with former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie (R) that he works across party lines to get things done.


Warner repeatedly touted policy positions that had gotten him in trouble with Democrats, ticking off bills he was working on with Republicans like Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and calling for changes to ObamaCare that few other Democrats embrace.

Gillespie accused Warner of abandoning his former centrism a few times through the forum, and said he wasn't effective in the Senate.

"Every single piece of legislation I work on, I start with a Republican partner," Warner said.

The senator and former governor said he supported allowing health insurance to be sold across state lines — typically a GOP — position, said there were too many reporting requirements in ObamaCare, called for another delay to the employer mandate and said there should be a cheaper insurance option sold on the healthcare exchange.

Warner also affirmed his support for leaving Virginia as a "right to work" state and called for chained Consumer Price Index, which ties the Consumer Price Index to inflation, to be implemented for Social Security, a stance anathema to liberals.

Gillespie knocked Warner, saying he was no longer the centrist he'd been as governor.

"Gov. Warner wouldn't recognize Sen. Warner," he chided, accusing him of voting with President Obama 97 percent of the time in favor of ""a trillion dollars in tax increases."

Gillespie called for repealing and replacing ObamaCare, blamed Warner for the ballooning national debt and hit him on growing government regulation.

"There is so much red tape coming out of Washington today it's choking small business," he said. " I will be true to my word. I will work every day to ease the squeeze on hard working Virginians and make it easier for the unemployed to find work."

Warner fired back during his portion of the session, saying Gillespie "spent his whole career as a partisan political operative; he sees everything throughout the lens of Democrat versus Republican."

Both were also critical of sequestration, which has hurt the large contractors and military-related economies of Virginia.

"We shouldn't be implementing cuts that will bring us down to army levels that are below World War I levels," he said.

Warner called it "stupidity on steroids."

Warner has led most polling by wide margins, with his lead stretching past 20 points in some. 

This post was updated at 4:40 p.m.