The following memo, from the McAuliffe campaign, is interesting and (I think) well worth passing along. What the Cuccinelli campaign's trying to do here reminds me a great deal of the Romney campaign's utterly cynical strategy, which was to assume that voters are complete imbeciles and simply “hit a reset button…like an 'Etch-a-Sketch'” as they got closer to the election, assuming that nobody would remember all the crazy stuff Romney had said in order to win the Republican nomination the past winter and spring.
With Cuccinelli, the list of extreme, bizarre, ignorant, bigoted, and just plain crazy comments (and, more importantly, actions) is extremely long, from questioning the legitimacy of Barack Obama's reelection, to dabbling in “birtherism”, to denying climate change, to trying to make it easier for people to discriminate against gay people, to claiming that Virginia can disobey federal laws it disagrees with, to claiming the government is tracking his kids via Social Security numbers, who talks to a toy elephant named “Ron”, to asserting that public recreation centers are threats to the “liberty pie” and that ” that Social Security and Medicare are 'goodies that bad politicians created to make people dependent on government'.” I know, you can't make this stuff up. But that's Ken Cuccinelli for you, and why I feel 100% justified in callin him “Cuckoo,” “Kookinelli,” etc. Anyway, here's the McAuliffe campaign's memo. Enjoy.
To: Interested Parties
From: Josh Schwerin, Press Secretary for McAuliffe for Governor
Memo: Painting Over Cuccinelli's Record
Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign has been defined by a continuous effort to make voters forget his career-long extreme social agenda. As top Cuccinelli strategist Chris LaCivita put it, “We have to clearly show and paint another picture of Ken that people haven’t seen before.” Heading into the first debate of the election, this tactic has been on full display. This effort to paint over Cuccinelli’s real record has been applied to his record of prioritizing divisive social issues, his involvement in the ongoing gifts scandal with Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, and his efforts to help out-of-state energy companies in their lawsuit against Virginia landowners.
“McDonnell’s situation is made worse by Cuccinelli. He, too, is stuck in the briar patch that is Jonnie Williams Sr. and Star Scientific. Cuccinelli’s effort to distance himself from McDonnell achieves the wrong objectives. It magnifies their shared humiliation.” – Jeff Schapiro, Richmond Times Dispatch
Ken Cuccinelli has been desperately trying to convince voters that the ongoing scandal involving gifts from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams has nothing to do with him. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. The first time Virginia voters heard about Star Scientific was not about Governor McDonnell at all. In May, the Associated Press published a story examining the Ken Cuccinelli’s conflict of interest in a lawsuit between Star Scientific and the Commonwealth of Virginia over $1.7 million in taxes owed by Star. Cuccinelli has taken more than $18,000 in gifts from Williams and Star, and failed to report stock holdings in the company despite his involvement in legal action with them. Cuccinelli even went so far as to travel to Kentucky on Williams’ dime to campaign for an AG candidate. Ken Cuccinelli is neck deep in gifts from Jonnie Williams that he didn’t disclose until he was under immense public pressure, even now he won’t agree to a ban on gifts over $100 that would end the failed practice of self-enforced disclosure. Despite his protests to the contrary, Ken Cuccinelli is deeply involved in the Star Scientific scandal.
“That’s Cuccinelli’s whole strategy, you know, don’t look at what I’ve said in the past about abortion or gays or climate change or anything like that.” – Bob McCartney, Washington Post Columnist.
As we head into the first debate, expect to see Ken Cuccinelli continue to attempt to paint over his record. He is likely to claim that he stands up for seniors, despite his recent attacks on the AARP and new video of him attacking Medicare. He is also likely to claim that he doesn’t “overdo it” on social issues, despite a room full of business leaders laughing at that claim a few weeks ago. Ken Cuccinelli is attempting to “paint another picture” of himself that Virginians who have followed his career in Richmond have never seen before. That’s because it’s a picture that will have been completely fabricated.
Gas Royalties Dispute
On Tuesday, the Oil and Gas Board will have another hearing to discuss the ongoing dispute between out-of-state energy companies and Southwest Virginia landowners. Ken Cuccinelli has repeatedly claimed to stand up for Southwest Virginia but this is a case that proves the opposite. Cuccinelli and his office have been helping the Pittsburgh based energy company, a major donor to his campaign, in their lawsuit against landowners who are owed royalties. Upon discovering the actions of the Attorney General’s office, a federal judge said she was “shocked.” Despite the direct harm being caused to Virginians, Cuccinelli has defended his actions and continues to claim he puts the interests of Virginians, and not one of his top donors, first.