Home 2013 races Cuccinelli’s First TV Ad: His Wife is a Sure Winner

Cuccinelli’s First TV Ad: His Wife is a Sure Winner


(Lowell’s note: I’m promoting this because I think it shows what we’re up against this year. Anyone who underestimates Ken Cuccinelli or his team, including Chris LaCivita, or thinks we’re going to win easily just because Cuckoo is well…cuckoo, is delusional. So, Democrats, what are you doing to elect Terry McAuiffe and defeat Ken Cuccinelli? – promoted by lowkell)

by Paul Goldman

Let’s start with the great lyrics from ACDC’s super song “T.N.T.”

Women to the left of me, women to the right, I got no gun, I got no knife, but don’t you start no fight, I am dynamite.

With all due respect to the AG, the Cuccinellis have finally put the “A Team” on the field. Let’s give his strategy guy Chris LaCivita credit: he realizes a winner when he has one.

The K-man’s first ad, featuring a geeky image of him walking with his wife, then roughly 25 seconds of Teiro Cuccinelli talking into the camera, sometimes direct, sometimes over a montage of pictures, is right where Cuccinelli has to be to have ANY chance of being elected governor.

Guys, let’s face: We don’t matter in the 2013 campaign. The deciding vote is with the women, mostly in the suburbs. White guys, by and large, are Republican, end of story. Non-white guys, by and large, are Democratic, end of story. There is some potential movement here, but not enough to decide the governor’s race unless something unusual happens.

Meaning, for Cuccinelli to have any chance of winning, he has to close the gap among women. Hardly a revelation I would assume.


Enter, therefor, in ad #1: The Wife, The Mother, The Partner, The Middle Class Significant other. She is as good as it is going to get for the K-man among women. She is real, she is sincere, and she at least has an idea of how you win a campaign for Governor. My gut says: LaCivita may want to break new ground in Virginia by running Team Cuccinelli, Teiro and Ken, in that order I might add. That’s right: Team Cuccinelli, husband and wife Governor. It would be revolutionary.

LaCivita thinks he needs to do some measure of rehab of the Cuccinelli persona. Smart thinking.  LaCivita knows that if he doesn’t get some traction among women, he is toast. Smart thinking again. Third, LaCivita decided he had to GO FIRST WITH A TV AD, beating Terry to the airwaves. Smart again. Fourth, Cuccinelli has less money than Terry, yet he is going first. That’s usually a little risky, but it either says they are confident the money will be there, or they had to take a risk by using precious resources first. I figure a little of both.

The Democratic-leaning women’s groups, media and their allies have done a very effective job in demonizing Cuccinelli. At the same time, the AG has given people a lot to work him over with in  terms of politics. Meaning: it is all about the women. Therefore: If that is the case, why not run Team Cuccinelli for Governor?

Ironically, this has been a Dem concept. The GOP doesn’t go that route. George Allen made a big mistake last year, not running with his wife Susan, who is a far more appealing political figure at this point. That’s just the way it is guys: White Guys ain’t in no more.

This is the entertainment business. Nothing personal. All about selling tickets. Ma and Pa Cuccinelli? Why not?

Think back to 2009: McDonnell, facing a lot of the same political liabilities as Cuccinelli, brilliantly used his family and wife and daughters to overcome his liability on women’s issues. Having all those women around him really helped. Image is key. Cuccinelli doesn’t have the older daughters as did McDonnell. He has his wife. SO: Why not run as Team Cuccinelli?

The great irony of course is that Cuccinelli is running as the traditionalist, yet such a team concept is anything but relative to VA history. But this is why it might work for him, as opposed to say Terry. When you go against type, it is always higher risk, but higher reward. Team Cuccinelli is a lot stronger opponent than K-Man standing alone. And it looks like Chris LaCivita may have figured that out.  

  • I’ll put them here as well:

    This is what worries me the most about Ken Cuccinelli. Yes, he’s an extremist in his political views. Yes, he denies climate science and persecutes an esteemed climate scientist (the great Michael Mann) because he doesn’t “believe” Mann’s findings. Yes, he’s a homophobe. Yes, he’s a theocrat. Yes, he’s an anti-women’s-right-to-choose extremist. Yes, he’s a conspiracy theorist who dabbles in birtherism and thinks the government’s using Social Security numbers to “track us.” In short, yes, he’s completely bonkers. (Also – yes, increasing evidence indicates he might be corrupt as well.)

    So why does this ad worry me? Because, I fear that for the vast majority of Virginians who don’t pay close attention to politics, the impression of Cuccinelli from this ad – and future ads, I’m sure – will be that he’s a good guy, well meaning, and even “likable.” Combine that with Cuccinelli’s passionate support base and his strong retail political skills, and it gives me the willies about this election. The question is, are rank-and-file Democrats, plus Virginian independent voters, “on” to this guy? WILL they be “on” to this guy by November?  If so, then it’s hard to see how he wins. If not, then it’s hard to see how he doesn’t. And so, I’m very nervous, because if Cuccinelli’s elected governor, with no serious checks/balances against him (e.g., in the House of Delegates or State Senate), it will be an unmitigated disaster for our state.

  • FWfromNOVA

    Sigh…I usually find Paul Goldmans posts dead on, but on this one he’s dead wrong. Didn’t you learn anything from last years election and the Romney campaigns lame attempt at making Anne Romney their secret campaign weapon to make women love her husband? Sure Tiero isn’t driving two Cadillacs out of her car elevator when she head out to the stables to ride her million dollar dancing horses, but she’s equally unrelatable. Tiero is a home schooling über religious stay at home mother of seven kids who doesn’t practice birth control and doesn’t think other women should either.  Most women don’t want seven kids, can’t afford seven kids, and would never home school them.

    This ad said nothing of substance…and Tiero doesn’t tell women how her husband will address issues women care about most…education, affordable child care, equal pay, transportation, and employment. Hell Ken doesn’t even support community rec centers, a god send for most women. I’ll cut you guys some slack here because you are of course guys, but sheesh, run this ad by a working mom before you declare the race over.

  • DJRippert

    Cuccinelli may have  taken a relatively smart path in featuring his wife in television ads.  However, the suburban women who he hopes to sway are pretty savvy.  I’d be surprised if his articulate wife can make up for his longstanding political views.

    However, the Democrats are missing a trick here.  Goldman’s description of the ad says, ” …featuring a geeky image of him walking with his wife …”.  You know why it’s a geeky image?  Because he’s a geek.  So, why not use Cuccinelli’s innate geekdom to hold down conservative turnout?

    McAuliffe is a “man’s man”.  He grew up in Syracuse.  He owns a gun, he smokes cigars, he drinks beer, he hits the tables at Las Vegas with his buddies.  He is a risk taker – willing to do such outlandish things as start a car company.  His son goes to the Naval Academy.  He’s a modern day Teddy Roosevelt.

    Cuccinelli is a dorky, paper shuffling lawyer who never took a risk in his life.  He stabbed his buddy Bill Bolling in the back with that closed door convention.  He’s a typical Fairfax County quiche eating, wine drinking effete.  He’s a modern day Woodrow Wilson.

    Why should any self-respecting conservative redneck take a day off fishing and hunting to vote for a geeky, Fairfax County lawyer who needs to have his wife speak for him on TV commercials?

    I think Cuccinelli’s androgynous persona could easily be used to put the rough and ready conservative base in the western part of the state to sleep on election day.

    Are these politically correct thoughts?  No.  However, they are 200 proof political thoughts.    

  • aznew

    I thought this was a very interesting ad for several reasons. Partly because of what Mr. Goldman has to say, above. I completely agree that this race will be fought over the women’s suburban vote, not only in NOVA, but also in Hampton Roads, Richmond, C-Ville and the increasing suburban areas of Southside (Roanoke and Danville).

    Whatever the overall strategy and effectiveness of putting Cuccinelli’s wife out there, though, what struck me most about this ad were the three words at the end she used to describe Cuccinelli: “experienced,” “principled,” and “honest.”

    Forget about what this says about Cuccinelli. While I think there are legitimate issues in his record about Cuccinelli’s honesty, these adjectives really preview the negative campaign that will be thrown at McAuliffe, namely, that he is INexperienced, UNprincipled, and DIShonest.

    If I were McAuliffe, I’d hit back on this, fast and hard, not by trying to  answer any imagined or implied charges, but by putting Cuccinelli on the defensive. There is much material from which to work, from his extensive anti-woman record to his incompetence as AG to his questionable ethics record on U.S. Navy Vets and Star Scientific to his extremism even for a wingnut.

    Whichever candidate is successful on getting the other on the defensive, that candidate will win this race.

    Well, “win” might be the wrong word. Survive might be more apt.

  • kindler

    I’ve been saying it for months, but this underscores the urgency.  We cannot afford to let the Repubs define either candidate, or we could lose — and that would truly be a disaster for the Commonwealth.