Debate night in the Old Dominion: McAuliffe vs. Cuccinelli, round two

posted at 6:01 pm on September 25, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

We have less than six weeks to go until Virginia’s November 5th gubernatorial election, and Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe will face off for the second time tonight in a debate at 7 P.M. eastern (you can watch a livestream here). With “businessman”/former DNC chair and professional boozer-schmoozer Terry McAuliffe maintaining his edge to varying degrees in the most recent rash of polls, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli camp will be going for a strong performance and decisive victory, but meanwhile, by this point, I’d think that McAuliffe is just hoping not to screw it up.

That will be a challenge, as McAuliffe has lately fallen into the unfortunate habit of showcasing his relative lack of interest in the nuts and bolts of the actual job of — oh, you know — governing, and I’d expect Cuccinelli to try to get him to finally speak up about the Obama administration’s recent round of coal-plant regulations expected to impact southern Virginians especially. McAuliffe hasn’t quite found the time to break his political reticence on that one yet, you see.

On the flip side, I’d wager that McAuliffe will be looking for any opening to bring up social issues in the attempt to bolster one of the biggest factors he’s got going for him: The gender gap. From Sean Sullivan’s preview post at WaPo:

3. Women voters. In May, McAuliffe and Cuccinelli were running about even among women. According to the latest Post poll, the Democrat has opened up a 24-point lead. That’s quite a swing. And it comes amid a concerted Democratic effort to cast Cuccinelli as extreme on abortion an other women’s issues. Here’s a chance for the Republican to speak directly to a large audience of women, and try improve his standing. McAuliffe, meanwhile, is expected to try buttress his advantage.

Politico has a pretty useful piece up with some more of the uncomfortable questions that both candidates will be looking to avoid. For McAuliffe:

3. Would you actually shut down state government to expand Medicaid?

McAuliffe has said he would not sign a state budget from the Republican Legislature unless it includes an expansion of Medicaid to cover 400,000 more Virginians.

He has subsequently tried to clarify that he doesn’t support a shutdown and denied he ever did. But the GOP says there’s no chance they’ll expand the program and suggests that McAuliffe would try to hold the state hostage to advance his ideological agenda. …

5. How are you going to pay for all your proposed new spending?

McAuliffe has spent the year promising costly new programs and initiatives, but he’s been vague about how he would balance the books. He wants to raise teacher salaries, expand pre-K and make college more affordable. On Monday in Richmond, he outlined a plan to invest in urban renewal with more money for public transit and mental health.

He claims expanding Medicaid would net the state $500 million in savings, but many doubt that claim. Even the Post editorial board, which will probably endorse McAuliffe, called him out last Friday for being unrealistic.

And for Cuccinelli:

1. Would you shut down the federal government to defund Obamacare?

Cuccinelli officials said last week they are talking with Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican leading the controversial effort, about a joint rally during the home stretch. The candidate has often ducked taking positions on federal issues, like immigration, by saying he is not in Congress.

Polls show voters oppose Cruz’s brinkmanship, but Cuccinelli risks alienating his conservative base — which he’s counting on in a low-turnout election — if he avoids getting the senator’s back.

Meanwhile, current Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, came out against threatening to shut down the federal government on WTOP Tuesday. “We can’t hold federal workers and our federal government hostage with that,” he said.

Either way, both candidates have baggage the other can highlight now that Virginia is a little more tuned in than they were for the first debate in July, and with a lot of this race hinging on negative attack ads so far, things could get ugly.


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no reason to watch.

slimeball has already been declared the winner in a dazzling performance.

Besides, he knows the Clintons.

Some tough questions for slimey.

What is your favorite color?
Do you like puppies?
What do you think of UVA football this year?
What kind of furniture are you going to put in the gov mansion.

acyl72 on September 25, 2013 at 6:10 PM

Debate moderator: “Geez, McAuliffe, we just worship the ground you walk on, why don’t we just give you the governorship already, we have to elect you to find out what you will do, you know.”

22044 on September 25, 2013 at 6:15 PM

I can’t even believe that McAuliffe is in the running. What is wrong with my home state?

Cindy Munford on September 25, 2013 at 6:25 PM

“Mr. McAuliffe, is it true that you are perfect? Please take as long as you like to respond.”

“Mr. Cucinelli, there are reports your grandfather was Adolph Hitler, would you like to respond?”

-What? I…”Sorry Mr. Cucinelli but your time is up and frankly we’ve all heard enough.”

Bishop on September 25, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Hmmmm… to live blog, or not to live blog, that is the question.

Stoic Patriot on September 25, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Say g’nite, Virginia..

Lanceman on September 25, 2013 at 6:37 PM

I can’t even believe that McAuliffe is in the running. What is wrong with my home state?

Cindy Munford on September 25, 2013 at 6:25 PM

1) McAuliffe is running non-stop ads across the state saying Ken is opposed to abortion even in the case of rape or a mother’s life being in danger. I’ve talked to a lot of long time reliable GOP women voters who will not vote for Ken.

2). Johnny Williams and Star Scientific

3) There are many republicans who are pi$$ed because the candidate was nominated at the convention instead of the usual primary. The Va Republican Party pulled a fast one on Bolling. I hear from party folks there is a lot of anger out there that we got stuck with Ken and Jackson – who is even further right than Ken. I hear rumblings that we’ll be surprised at the write in votes for Bolling.

4) Virginia doesn’t traditionally elect extreme candidates from either party. Our ticket is being defined as extreme.

5) $$$$$. Terry has almost double the money of Ken. I have yet to see a Cucchinelli ad.

6) Northern Virginia, the city of Richmond and UVA.

BacaDog on September 25, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Cuccinelli is already saddled with abortion issue. He might as well embrace it and tie McAuliffe to “that soldier in the war on poverty” Kermit Gosnell. Let Terry M. be forced to defend him or be forced to admit regulation is required to make abortion both “safe and available.”

I would also hit him on Global Crossing and his green shell company which is nothing more than a scam to get bribe money from foreigners.

Cuccinelli is actually a policy wonk and is demonstrably much more intelligent than McAuliffe.

jerryofva on September 25, 2013 at 6:54 PM

Hmmmm… online show for Special Report takes precedence. Especially since they’ll probably have more on the establishment-grassroots schism on the CR.

Stoic Patriot on September 25, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Watching the live feed. mcauliffe just making crap up. “My opponent hates teh gheys … and the wimmins”.

I did like Cuccinelli’s line …
“If terry’s elected governor of Virginia, we’re going to have to change the Commonwealth’s motto from Sic Semper Tyrannis to Quid Pro Quo”

Lost in Jersey on September 25, 2013 at 7:19 PM

jerryofva on September 25, 2013 at 6:54 PM

Honest to God, I don’t understand why a solid conservative like Cuccinelli doesn’t start laying hammer blows on McAuliffe with the abortion issue – with how his policies lead to Gosnells killing fully developed babies and dirty clinics that literally leave women dead on the operating table. The left couldn’t be any more radical on abortion – make them OWN IT. ARGHHHH

crrr6 on September 25, 2013 at 7:35 PM

BacaDog on September 25, 2013 at 6:49 PM

My sister mentioned the abortion thing to me the other. I would be willing to bet that she never consider herself pro-choice until those ads started running. All of the sudden this is a big deal to her? I love my sister but she is definitely a low information voter and those ads must be effective.

Cindy Munford on September 25, 2013 at 7:38 PM

I can’t even believe that McAuliffe is in the running. What is wrong with my home state?

Cindy Munford on September 25, 2013 at 6:25 PM

…Brain mold?

KOOLAID2 on September 25, 2013 at 7:39 PM

crrr6:

I agree but it’s not a winner. However by tying the issue to Gosnell it forces McAuliffe to admit that regulation is necessary and partially neutralizes the issue.

jerryofva on September 25, 2013 at 7:41 PM

Cindy Munford on September 25, 2013 at 7:38 PM

Yes. I see them, and they cast Ken in the worst possible light. I cannot understand why he doesn’t hit back. Turn McAuliffe into Gosnell incarnate. I just don’t understand how and why conservatives hold their beliefs and are too shell-shocked to turn weakness into strength.

crrr6 on September 25, 2013 at 7:42 PM

Yes. I see them, and they cast Ken in the worst possible light. I cannot understand why he doesn’t hit back. Turn McAuliffe into Gosnell incarnate. I just don’t understand how and why conservatives hold their beliefs and are too shell-shocked to turn weakness into strength.

crrr6 on September 25, 2013 at 7:42 PM

This.

For some reason, the GOP loves not defending their core beliefs. The Democrats attack them, the GOP doesn’t respond, and what could easily be an asset then is deemed to be a liability. It’s the northeast GOP playbook in action.

The Cuccinelli campaign should run commercials calling McAuliffe a baby butcher, and go into detail involving the sorts of gruesome acts that McAuliffe thinks are “a woman’s right.”

Stoic Patriot on September 25, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Violence against Women act! War on Women, I hope the women stay home in this election..

Fleuries on September 25, 2013 at 7:44 PM

jerryofva on September 25, 2013 at 7:41 PM

Yeah, but you can at least frame the issue like this:

“look, I have my beliefs and I respect that people may not wholly agree with me on every issue and that will not be lost on me as governor. But, what we have seen nationally is the proliferation of these unsanitary abortion clinics that have left women literally dead from infection and these abortion doctors willing to perform late-term abortions because Democrats like Terry are so ideologically extreme that they refuse to enforce any regulations because they just don’t believe in them. So, when it comes to protecting women, I actually have a record of it while Terry just talks the talk, etc.”

crrr6 on September 25, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Awesome – SuperPac cavalry is finally starting to arrive. First commercial after the debate (Northern VA area), 1 minute long and hits Terry hard:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QJhNMUEjfU

crrr6 on September 25, 2013 at 8:24 PM

For some reason, the GOP loves not defending their core beliefs. The Democrats attack them, the GOP doesn’t respond, and what could easily be an asset then is deemed to be a liability. It’s the northeast GOP playbook in action.

Stoic Patriot on September 25, 2013 at 7:44 PM

I tell you three times- The GOP leadership is not the same as the rank-and-file of the party. They are “northeast GOP”, what we used to call “Rockefeller Republicans”.

The don’t defend Republican core beliefs because they, personally, do not believe in them. Their “core beliefs” are almost indistinguishable from those of the Democrats’ leaders; why do you think Michael Bloomberg could move so easily from one party to the other, let alone Arlen Specter?

They have the same contempt for the 2nd Amendment, the pro-life position, strong defense, etc., that “progressive” Democrats do. Because they are progressives first, and Republicans a distant second.

I suspect the only reason any of them are Republicans at all is that, as the representatives of “the other party”, it gives them some personal leverage in cutting backroom deals. If they were just members of the Democratic party, they’d be nothing but low-mileage pit-woofies who would get thrown a bone when their Masters felt like it, and they know it.

The best thing the up-and-comers like Cruz, Palin, and Perry could do would be to move the “center” of the party out of the northeast. Replace these “Boston Brahmins” in the party’s leadership. And then tell said brahmins to either get behind the platform (that they wrote), or get out.

These “Republicans” don’t believe in… Republicanism.

And frankly, they don’t even like the average person very much, Republican or otherwise.

Now you know why the Democrats love them, and why both sides on the Hill are out to take Cruz down.

clear ether

eon

eon on September 25, 2013 at 8:46 PM

crrr6:

The way I explain it to people is by way asking two questions.

Can Ken Cuccinelli unilaterally out abortion (no)

Can Terry McAuliffe loot the state treasury and turn Virginia into Chicago? (yes)

My follow-up is do you want to cut off your nose to spite your face over an ideological issue that can be enforced.

jerryofva on September 25, 2013 at 9:16 PM

Pro-life women gather to support Cuccinelli:

bmmg39 on September 25, 2013 at 11:56 PM