Ben Pershing

Cuccinelli Working Hard, T-Mac Hardly Working

One of the many bipartisan knocks on Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe — aside from his many scandals — is that being a non-Virginian, he doesn't know Virginia, its traditions, its history or how its government works. Apparently, he doesn't know what Virginians expect from candidates, either. Despite the closing in the polls, McAuliffe has cooled off his campaign schedule — no media interviews, a canceled press conference, a skipped event with college students and no campaign events the last few days except for his Obamacare celebration rally with President Barack Obama. Meanwhile, Republican Ken Cuccinelli has round-the-clock events up to election day on Tuesday with national conservative stars such as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, capped by a Monday night rally with former Congressman from Texas and libertarian Republican icon Ron Paul, the former presidential candidate at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Here's Ben Pershing from The Washington Post:

Ken Cuccinelli II is planning a frenetic schedule with a handful of big-name Republican surrogates as the race for Virginia governor draws to a close. Terry McAuliffe, by contrast, is mostly staying out of sight aside from a pair of high-profile events.

The differing strategies illustrate the pecking order as the hard-fought contest nears its end. Cuccinelli (R) is consistently trailing in the polls and can’t afford much of an advertising presence on the airwaves, so he’s counting on word-of-mouth and media coverage from live appearances to stay afloat.

McAuliffe (D) is nursing a lead and has the cash to keep up a steady drumbeat of ads, giving him little incentive to expose himself to the press more than necessary. Cuccinelli is planning to do multiple daily events around the state from Friday through Tuesday. His itinerary includes events Saturday in Spotsylvania and Prince William counties with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and appearances in Warrenton and Culpeper Monday with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). And former representative Ron Paul (R-Tex.) will join Cuccinelli in Richmond on Monday evening.

McAuliffe’s campaign has said that he will appear at a rally with President Obama on Sunday afternoon at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, and he will join forces with Vice President Biden on Monday morning in Annandale to kick off a day of canvassing.

McAuliffe has announced no public events for Thursday, Friday or Saturday. His campaign has not responded to requests for comment about his schedule.

On Wednesday, McAuliffe wrapped up a four-day campaign swing with former president Bill Clinton, but he did not take questions from the media at those appearances. McAuliffe has done a handful of individual interviews, but aside from a brief gaggle following last Thursday’s debate in Blacksburg, he has done no other media availabilities in the past three weeks.

Is McAuliffe taking Virginians for granted? Has he started measuring the Governor's Mansion's drapes and called the moving trucks? Virginians don't appreciate that, something McAuliffe would know if he knew Virginia.

 

Candidate Kaine's Marriage "Pirouette"

North Carolinians overwhelmingly voted one week ago to define marriage as between one man and one woman in their state constitution. The same day, Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine was asked about his position on the issue. Kaine’s answer was anything but clear. In fact, his obfuscation led the National Journal to label his attempted response “policy pirouettes" (see Shane Goldmacher at Hotline On Call blog). Kaine said:

The number one issue is should committed couples have the same legal rights and responsibilities and the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. I believe in the legal equality of relationships. Is it marriage, is it civil unions, is it domestic partners? I kind of let that one go.

The crowd and reporters kept pressing, but Kaine remained steadfastly vague. His remarkable press session is chronicled here at the Washington Post's Virginia Politics Blog by Ben Pershing.

In 2006, then Governor Kaine publicly opposed Virginia’s marriage amendment, going so far as to campaign against the measure that eventually passed with 57 percent of the vote. Just a few months before, while a candidate for Governor, Kaine gave The Family Foundation Action the following response to a candidate survey question about the measure:

I have long supported Virginia law that declares marriage to be between a man and a woman, and I support a Constitutional amendment.

Incredibly, just days after being sworn in as governor, Kaine reversed his support for the ballot measure and urged the General Assembly to keep it off the ballot. (The legislation calling for the measure passed the 2005 General Assembly but had to pass again in 2006 to be placed on the ballot.)

At one point during the press availability last week, Kaine indicated that "marriage" is little more than a label, saying, "I think the labels actually get in the way of the issue."

But marriage isn't the only issue on which Kaine has shifted since running for governor in 2005. Relatedly, at that time, he told The Family Foundation and the media that he opposed homosexual couples adopting, but supported Virginia law allowing homosexual individuals to adopt. Late in his administration, however, he introduced a regulation that would have prohibited child placement agencies from considering homosexual behavior at all when choosing parents for adoption. Last year, he said that unmarried homosexual couples should be able to adopt if a judge determined it was in the best interest of the child (contrary to the Virginia Constitution and statute).

One has to wonder why Kaine continues to dodge the question if opinions on the issue of marriage are shifting — as constantly asserted as fact by same-sex marriage supporters and mainstream media. Of course, while progressives insist that Americans are shifting in their opinion on the definition of marriage, they are 0-31 when it comes to marriage amendments at the ballot box. Candidate Kaine knows that.

Conveniently in 2005, Kaine invoked his Catholic faith in response to his position on the death penalty. No mention of Church teaching on this issue. Hmmm. Our guess, however, is that whatever he says on the issue while on the campaign trail doesn't really matter. History has proven that Tim Kaine's position is likely to change as soon as Election Day is over.

Exclusive Photo: First Debate In GOP Senate Race?

Last week, at the Call To Prayer at the state capitol that officially inaugurated the Virginia Legislative Prayer Caucus, we caught on camera another type of caucus: The Virginia Republican Candidates for U.S. Senate Caucus. In particular, we saw Jamie Radtke (see Ben Pershing at the Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog) and Bishop Earl Jackson (see Richmond Times-Dispatch) speaking to each other as the event neared its conclusion.Was this a first debate? After all, there were plenty of mics and cameras nearby. If and when there is a debate, it may have to be outdoors — there may not be a building big enough to hold all the candidates. Still, we have to wonder: What were they discussing? Or were they debating after all? Oh, to be a fly buzzing around that meeting!

Former Virginia Tea Party chair Jamie Radtke (left, white shirt, turning to greet someone) and Bishop Earl Jackson, former chaplain of The Family Foundation's Pastors For Family Values (back to camera), both candidates for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2012, have a friendly discussion at the state capitol last week. Believe me, we had a great shot until the man in the gray jacket stepped forward, and then had to scoot off to lobby for the two pro-life amendments adopted during the General Assembly's Veto Session.

Post: Griffith And Hurt Land Key Committee Assignments, Rigell Awaits Armed Services

According to Ben Pershing a little while ago at the Washington Post's Virginia Politics blog, Virginia freshmen GOP Representatives Morgan Griffith (VA-09) and Robert Hurt (VA-05) will land on two key committees: Energy and Commerce and Financial Services, respectively. While liberal soon-to-be former Representative Rick Boucher, whom Griffith defeated, served on Energy and Commerce, no Virginia member currently sits on the equally powerful Financial Services committee, making that a huge score for Hurt. On the downside, he'll have to put up with Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who will assume the position of ranking member (see Housing Wire) after four disastrous years as its chairman. Freshmen appointments to both committees is unusual (even Boucher had to wait a few terms before his gig started). The news especially was welcome for Hurt who made national headlines last month at the every-two-year-ritual House office lottery for freshman, where he had the misfortune of drawing the highest number and, therefore, the least desirable office space (see Jake Gibson at FoxNews.com). He needed the office karma of Kirk Cox. As for Virginia's other freshman GOP House member, Scott Rigell (VA-02) is awaiting, but expected to get, a spot on the Armed Services Committee, an assignment Virginians from either party from that district almost always get because of the large military presence in Hampton Roads.