You know things aren't going well for a liberal candidate when his Mainstream Media allies call him out. How let down must Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds have felt when he saw this headline from Washington Post lib Robert McCartney?

Plain and Simple, Deeds Stumbles In N.Va. Debate

Ouch!

But true. See for yourself. We can't add much more to what Mr. McCartney wrote. So, we let him speak for himself, with emphasis added to certain points and occasional parenthetical comments of mine because . . . because . . . I still don't know the difference between tax increases and "raise new money"!

. . .  as governor Deeds would be more likely to actually fix the roads than his Republican opponent, former attorney general Robert F. McDonnell. That's because Deeds is willing to raise taxes for transportation, while McDonnell isn't, and some kind of tax increase is the only way to do the job. (Oh, really? The mind of a liberal, and they say conservatives see things only in black and white.)

But Deeds certainly didn't explain that clearly Thursday. When asked directly by moderator David Gregory of NBC News whether he would raise taxes if necessary in the current economic climate, Deeds said: "No, I'm not going to raise taxes. But I am the only person on this dais who will sign a transportation plan that raises new money." (Say, what!?!?!?)

Huh? When I and other reporters pressed him afterward to clarify, he said he meant only that he wouldn't raise taxes for the state's general fund, which pays for a broad range of services, including education and law enforcement. That clearly left open the possibility that he'd raise taxes for the transportation fund, which is separate.

Even then, though, Deeds tried to have it both ways. In one breath he told reporters, "I have no plans to raise taxes." In another he said, "I intend to sign" a bill that "raises new money for transportation." That sounds like a plan to me.

Deeds also got a bit testy with a reporter who pressed him about whether he'd be ready to increase the gasoline tax. He's supported that before — to his great credit, in my view — but he wouldn't say so Thursday.

"I think I made myself clear, young lady. I don't know," Deeds said. ("I don't know" is clear?) The McDonnell campaign immediately began showing the clip to the press corps. Their message: You don't like what our guy wrote in 1989 about working women? (But see what Deeds has said, done and voted for in his 40s and 50s.)