Home 2013 races Video, Live Blog: Watch VA Gov. Debate Live at 11 AM Saturday

Video, Live Blog: Watch VA Gov. Debate Live at 11 AM Saturday


UPDATE 3:50 pm: You can now watch the debate – see video at the right. It starts at about 23 minutes in…

FYI, a few Twitter feeds to follow include: @TerryMcAuliffe @VADemocrats @GwenRocco @BrianCoy @AshleyBauman @brbilberry @scontorno ‏@PilotOnPolitics @benpershing and the “hash tag” #VBADebate.

UPDATE 12:43 pm: @LarrySabato tweets, “I give edge to McAuliffe because there’s no way for Cuccinelli to win with current scandal headlines. (“Thanks, Bob!” say KC staffers.)” Hahahahaha, gotta love it! 🙂

UPDATE 12:42 pm: @Lis_Smith tweets, “No other way to put it: @TerryMcAuliffe just drank @KenCuccinelli’s milkshake. Much more mainstream, gubernatorial, & in control.” So true.

UPDATE 12:40 pm: Think Progress is up with a story, “Virginia GOP Nominee For Governor: I Still Believe Gay People Are ‘Soulless’ And ‘Self Destructive.'”

UPDATE 12:35 pm: I went into this very worried that Ken Cuccinelli would beat Terry McAuliffe, not because he’s better on the issues – he certainly is NOT! – but simply because he’s been doing political debates for years and has gotten very skilled at it. But in this debate, seriously Terry kicked butt. I thought Cuccinelli was flustered, kept dodging questions and going back to tired, rote right-wing talking points (also, a lot of cheap shots). At one point, he seemed on the verge of tears, he was getting pounded so badly. It was really a sight to behold. Great job by Terry McAuliffe, the next governor of Virginia!

UPDATE 12:33 pm: Closing statement by Cuccinelli, claims he’s put his adult lifetime putting Virginians first (note: except, of course, for LGBT Virginians, middle class Virginians, women Virginians, etc, etc.). Cuccinelli says he’s the only candidate who showed “some commitment to Virginia prior to running for governor.” Claims he can do the job starting on Day #1, will focus on putting middle class job creation first (note: that is, after he bans abortion and contraception, kills transportation, education and Virginia’s economic future, etc.)

UPDATE 12:30 pm: Closing statement by Terry focuses on growing the economy, needing to invest in transportation to keep Virginia strong. Terry stresses that he supported the bipartisan transportation compromise, because it’s the right thing to do for Virginia. That’s an important window, in Terry’s view, for what kind of governor he’d be. Terry says Cuccinelli led Tea Party opposition to that legislation, opposed it for ideological reasons. There is a choice between rigid ideology and mainstream compromise in this election. We can do a lot for Virginia if we back mainstream compromise. “Mainstream, bipartisan solutions.” “It matters” who’s governor.

UPDATE 12:25 pm Final question is on immigration. Terry says he hopes Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform, it’s disappointing that the government’s in gridlock. Terry strongly supports DREAM Act, would sign it into law. Also supports a path to earned citizenship. Need to treat people with fairness. Cuccinelli says we’re a nation of immigrants, talks about attending naturalization ceremonies, then attacks the federal government for “messing up.” Cuccinelli claims he wants “some sort of compromise” on immigration. Attacks Terry for the “EB-5 program,” for not releasing his tax returns, blah blah blah. Note that Cuccinelli didn’t really answer the question – yet again. Terry says, it’s sort of sad, we could have ended on a high note, but “it is what it is.” Says we are a better state when we are open and welcoming to bring people, says Alfonso Lopez and Tom Rust brought the DREAM Act further than it’s ever gotten in Virginia. Cuccinelli doesn’t directly answer follow-up question on pathway to earned citizenship, claims he has no position. Huh?

UPDATE 12:19 pm: Woodruff question on sequestration. Cuccinelli starts babbling about the federal deficit, actually says he’d favor having tax increases on the table. Again, WTF? Terry says sequestration will be a disaster for Virginia. Says he disagrees with President Obama on the defense cuts (huh? how was this President Obama’s fault? last I checked it was 99% the Republicans’ fault). Terry says we need to diversify our economy. Cuccinelli says the reason we’ve done well in Virginia economically is because of “right to work” and low taxes. Of course, the fact is that Virginia has been heavily dependent on the federal government, but god forbid Cuccinelli would ever acknowledge that. Terry says he’d work with the federal government, Cuccinelli would fight them all at every turn. Terry says he’ll fight federal government if it hurts even 1 Virginia job. Other than that, he’ll work WITH the federal government on things like cybersecurity.

UPDATE 12:14 pm: Terry notes that Medicaid expansion is paid 100% first three years. Bill Bolling, Virginia Chamber of Commerce, hospitals, etc. are all for it. This is an important economic driver for Virginia. “Why would we possibly not want to bring that money back? It’s OUR money!” Terry also notes that “some very conservative governors” have accepted the Medicaid expansion. Cuccinelli says adding 400k people to Medicaid rolls will harm quality of care because we don’t have enough doctors and nurses. WTF?!? Is this a bad joke? Terry says Medicaid expansion is critical to our future, and that not taking the money will seriously harm Virginia. Cuccinelli calls it a “financing shell game,” goes back to the Big Lie about “gutting Medicare funding” (Romney was called out on that a gazillion times during last year’s presidential campaign; Cuccinelli apparently liked it so much he’s bringing it back for the 2013 Virginia gov race – lol).

UPDATE 12:10 pm: Woodruff question about Affordable Care Act. Terry says it’s not a perfect law, but it is the law of the land. Medicaid expansion would give 400,000 Virginians access to life-saving care. Terry says we need to reform the healthcare delivery system. If we don’t accept the Medicaid money, it will hurt Virginia hospitals. Cuccinelli claims Obamacare is failing “piece by piece,” He also attacks Terry for supporting the “public option,” claiming (erroneously) that it would have been “even worse.” I’ve just gotta ask, does ANYONE know what Cooch is ranting and raving about? The guy’s completely bonkers, not to mention dead wrong. He throws out the right-wingnut straw man about “growing government” as an excuse not to expand Medicaid. Crazy.

UPDATE 12:09 pm: Judy Woodruff asks if the candidates would support McDonnell resigning? Cuccinelli dodges, claims it’s not appropriate, that he started one of the investigations. McAuliffe says only McDonnell knows the facts, let’s let the investigation get the facts out, Democrats calling for his resignation should stand down for now.

UPDATE 12:08 pm: Terry challenges Cuccinelli to pledge to issue an executive order about restricting/banning gifts. Terry says it’s important for transparency, important to grow our economy.

UPDATE 12:00 pm: Terry rips Cuccinelli on Jonnie Williams. Cuccinelli disclosed once FBI agents were all over Virginia looking at this. Need an independent ethics commission, $100 gift limit – “Ken, you can buy a lot of turkey with 100 bucks.” Cuccinelli says he “was disclosing all along.” Says a “Democrat prosecutor” cleared him of illegality. Why can’t he say “Democratic?” Is someone THIS juvenile, nasty and divisive really someone we want as Governor of Virginia? Terry says that Mike Herring’s report says the AG should have been prosecuted, but the Virginia disclosure laws are insufficient. Terry says this report makes it perfectly clear what Cuccinelli was doing for Jonnie Williams. “Quid Pro Quo.” Cuccinelli says that’s just absolutely wrong. Cuccinelli seriously sounds like he’s about to cry. Seriously, though, Terry is ripping Cuccinelli a new one in this debate. This is truly a sight to behold. Terry points out a judge took the case away from Cuccinelli because of a conflict of interest, that Cuccinelli hasn’t gotten Virginia tax money back. Cuccinelli keeps claiming what Terry’s saying is inaccurate. Judy Woodruff asks Cuccinelli WHY did you accept Jonnie Williams’ gifts? Cuccinelli says he was “substituting for the governor” when he met Jonnie Williams. My god, isn’t THAT rich?!? LOL Says “it worked out very well” – hahaha. Also claims he “wasn’t made aware of it” (that’s when he was “walled off,” apparently, which is ANOTHER major failing). Cuccinelli says he’d support any gift cap or ban. Great, AFTER he took $1,500 turkey dinners from Jonnie Williams, etc. Cucc refers to McDonnell’s scandal(s).

UPDATE 11:54 am: Woodruff asks Terry about Greentech Automotive. Terry says he’ll bring a 42-year business career to the job. He’ll be a governor who understands the ups and downs of business. It’s not easy starting a car company. Nissan took 18 years to develop the Leaf, our company’s done it in 4 years. That’s what you want – an entrepreneur. Cuccinelli attacks Terry for taking Mississippi tax money, abandoning the people of Virginia. Cuccinelli says Terry should invest his own money. Cuccinelli says Terry will say whatever he thinks he needs to say to get elected, that the notion of Terry being a businessman is offensive to real businessmen. Terry says Cuccinelli has no business experience, he has 42 years, and it’s up and down, fiduciary duty to shareholders, “a fidicuary duty that you forgot, Ken, when you were taking money from Jonnie Williams.” Terry rips into Cuccinelli for Star Scientific, Jonnie Williams. A $1,500 turkey dinner? Terry says “That’s a lot of turkey!” Hahahaha – great line. Cuccinelli says he’s admitted his own mistakes, is committed to transparency, has put 8 years of his tax returns out there, why won’t Terry do so?

UPDATE 11:51 am: Terry asks Cuccinelli about his pledge to focus on transportation, and then admitting that he misled voters (“they bought it”). Terry asks, why did Cuccinelli intentionally mislead voters? Cuccinelli says he pushed concept of HOT lanes, would have preferred that to the Silver Line. Oh great. Terry says it’s Cuccinelli’s own quote, it’s not an “assault,” and there’s nothing funny about it. Terry says Cuccinelli says one thing, does another – “you are the true Trojan Horse of Virginia politics,” has made Virginia a national laughingstock. (Note: Here’s the video of Cuccinelli chuckling about how he snookered the voters.)

UPDATE 11:47 am: Terry says this transportation bill was a “defining moment for Virginia.” If we hadn’t done it, we could have been one of the only states in the nation that couldn’t even have accepted federal matching funds – billions of dollars. Terry’s absolutely right on this. Terry says “I was all in for transportation.” Cuccinelli claims Terry’s taking credit for other people’s work, that he had nothing to do with the transportation bill. Cuccinelli says the federal money would be where the Project Labor Agreements would come in. And those are evil, in Cuccinelli’s bizarre worldview. Terry says we can go over this over and over, but Cuccinelli is wrong.

UPDATE 11:44 am: Terry says, correctly, that Cuccinelli has a hard time even talking about transportation. But this is crucial for Virginia’s quality of life, economy, emergency response. Terry says this was our one shot, and he commends Bob McDonnell for stepping up on this. Cuccinelli confirms that he thought Metro to Dulles was a mistake. Says his focus as governor would be to implement transportation law as efficiently as possible (whatever that means). Cuccinelli now attacking Tim Kaine for amending the 2007 transportation bill and supposedly making it “unconstitutional.”

UPDATE 11:40 am: Question about transportation. Terry says he supported the bipartisan, mainstream transportation legislation, while Cuccinelli opposed it. Our rating as best state to do business has been falling due to transportation. “I am all in on transportation.” Cuccinelli said he’s kill the Silver Line. Terry says he’s for Metro to Dulles, Loudoun County. “I’m all for transportation, my opponent’s all against transportation.” Cuccinelli says he lives in NOVA and understands how important it is. Doesn’t want transportation money to go to “line union pockets.” WTF? Can we say straw man?!? What bull. Note that Cuccinelli never responds substantively, such as why he OPPOSED the bipartisan transportation bill. “Union Terry vs. Frugal Ken.” Again, WTF? That’s just stupid.

UPDATE 11:36 am: Cuccinelli asks Terry about Martinsville jobs, “Chinese electric car company,” why did you choose Mississippi over Martinsville. McAuliffe says he would have loved to put the company there, that businesses have to make decisions based on fiduciary responsibility, that Bill Bolling has called Cuccinelli’s attacks on this subject “baseless.” Terry says we’ve got to do broadband, transportation. Cuccinelli says Terry had his choice, “and he picked Terry over the people over Virginia.” Cuccinelli says “so you picked Mississippi, so run for governor of Mississippi,” that he went there for its tax money. Cuccinelli says Terry’s about “influence-peddling deals.”

UPDATE 11:35 am: Cuccinelli claims he has a “consistent position on life,” yet he just dodged a question on whether he’d sign a personhood bill. He also favors capital punishment, of course. Cuccinelli says his views on homosexuality “haven’t changed.” Wow.

UPDATE 11:33 am: Terry says Cuccinelli has a long history on this. Bullied the Board of Health on abortion clinics, director resigned in protest. Has said he wants abortions to disappear. First women’s health center has already shut down, in Norfolk. These centers provide critical care for women – cancer screening, birth control, etc. Cuccinelli pushed “personhood” legislation when he was in the State Senate – those are HIS actions. He can stand up here and talk about jobs and transportation, but he’s done nothing but hurt those and pushed a social agenda.

UPDATE 11:31 am: Woodruff asks Cuccinelli about making abortion, contraception illegal. Cuccinelli dodges, talks about creating jobs. Says he “sincerely holds beliefs about protecting life.” Does “not expect to be using political capital of governor’s office” to push his social agenda. Yet he used the Attorney General’s “political capital” to do just that. This is basically “Etch a Sketch,” trying to reinvent himself after years as a culture warrior. Cuccinelli dodges question about whether he’d sign bill saying life begins at conception.

UPDATE 11:26 am: Cuccinelli claims Terry calling out his heinous, bigoted views on gays and lesbians is “utterly and completely offensive.” Of course, he doesn’t apologize for them. He then shifts to the attack (of course) – “The only candidate in this race who’s chased business out of Virginia is not me, it’s you.” Claims Terry is being intentionally divisive, “demonizing Republicans” to raise money. Terry says he is NOT demonizing Republicans, in fact has been endorsed by numerous Republicans. Terry says there are consequences to Cuccinelli’s actions on social issues. Cuccinelli once said it should be a crime to be gay in Virginia. We have to be opening and welcoming. The attacks on women, gays, immigrants have got to stop. Cuccinelli says the word…wait for it…”Obamacare!” How is that a response to what Terry was just talking about? He also throws out “right to work.” Basically, flailing around. By the way, “right to work” does NOT kill jobs; there have been many studies on this subject. Terry said he won’t change “right to work,” anyway.

UPDATE 11:24 am: Question to Terry about same-sex marriage. Terry says he believes in marriage equality, proud to support it. Will sign early executive order to make sure there’s no discrimination in Virginia based on sexual orientation. If a repeal of the gay marriage ban got to his desk, he’d sign it, but that’s unlikely. My opponent has attacked LGBT people, tried to prevent universities from protecting LGBT people from discrimination, almost blew a major economic deal because of these “mean-spirited, hateful comments.”

UPDATE 11:21 am: Cuccinelli claims Terry is “playing around with the voters of Virginia” (huh?), “pure flim-flammery,” while he’s the straight shooter. That’s a total joke. Cuccinelli claims he’ll look at all the loopholes, but won’t name one specifically (of course not). So far, Terry’s really out-performing Cuccinelli…I’m honestly surprised, as Cuccinelli is a slick, smooth debater (albeit a pathological liar).

UPDATE 11:19 am: Cuccinelli goes back to his boilerplate, GOP talking points about the wonders of tax cuts. Also, a canned line, “This isn’t Washington, Terry.” “A Washington insider, Virginia outsider.” “We have to balance our budget.” Just realize, this is all complete nonsense from Cuccinelli. Terry says “we’ve heard these attacks before,” Cuccinelli was actually laughed at (I was there, have it on video – Terry is correct) for claiming he hadn’t overdone it on social issues.

UPDATE 11:18 am: McAuliffe says you can’t stand up here and propose billions in tax cuts that we can’t afford, as it will come directly out of education and transportation. Notes that Mark Warner, Vince Callahan, Sharon Bulova, editorial boards all say that could be devastating, result in local real estate taxes going up.

UPDATE 11:16 am: Cuccinelli says there are billions of dollars in “loopholes” he can cut. That’s a bunch of bull, frankly…what Republicans always say, but NEVER do. Given that Cuccinelli is in the pocket of the fossil fuel industries and other big corporations, there is no way this will happen.

UPDATE 11:14 am: McAuliffe says Virginia has to be open and welcoming, but it’s very hard to bring businesses here when you’re attacking climate scientists, women’s reproductive rights, LGBT Virginians. Says localities should consider looking at cutting regressive taxes. But says we’ll have new funds from the Medicaid expansion, will “turbocharge our economy,” will free up $500 million in the general fund.

UPDATE 11:12 am: Cuccinelli attacks Terry for raising taxes. Says we need to diversify our economy, we need job growth by “reducing the growth in government spending” (WTF? Virginia’s SLASHED its budgets the past 5 years or so!). Cooch says, as much as my opponent doesn’t like my jobs plan, it IS a jobs plan. (Uh, no it’s not…it’s a regressive giveaway to rich people and corporations – huge mistake.)

UPDATE 11:10 am: Question to Terry about how he’d afford to pay teachers more. Terry says there are tens of millions of dollars in tax incentives that could be ended. I’m not going to make promises I can’t keep.

UPDATE 11:08 am: McAuliffe says Virginia’s at an economic crossroads. Stimulus is over, sequestration is here, budget cuts will continue for the foreseeable future. With these challenges come tremendous opportunities. Need to prepare Virginians for 21st century jobs. It matters who will serve as our next governor. It matters what the governor will focus on. We know what my opponent will focus on. Cuccinelli says he’ll focus on jobs, then spends his time on social ideological agenda. When Virginians today hear promises by Cuccinelli, just remember the promises made in the past. Need to focus on mainstream economic issues, education, transportation.

UPDATE 11:06 am: Cuccinelli says he’s got the experience, won’t need “on-the-job training.” Talks about his Italian grandfather the “bare-knuckles boxer in the Depression.” “Dignity of work.” Talks about jobs for the middle class, “not the well connected.” Says Virginians need a governor they can trust. Need to push back against Washington, and claims the “candidate from Washington” can’t do it.

UPDATE 11:05 am: Moderator Judy Woodruff being introduced, comes on stage. Two minute opening statements…a bit of confusion as to who’s supposed to go first.

UPDATE 11:02 am: Rules of the debate being laid out by the VBA’s Tom Bagby. Candidates being introduced. Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli walk to their podiums (podia?). They shake hands.

UPDATE 11:00 am: Currently about 1,000 people watching the debate. That’s utterly pitiful in a state of 8 million people. So much for an informed, engaged citizenry?

UPDATE 10:52 am: Remember, as this debate is about to begin, that Ken Cuccinelli not only denies climate science (97% of scientists strongly disagree with him, and they’re a gazillion times more qualified to know), he actually launched a medieval-style witch hunt against one of the leading climate scientists, then-UVA Professor Michael Mann. It’s simply astounding that someone like Cuccinelli could even be CONSIDERED for public office in 2013 America, let alone for high office like governor. Sad.

UPDATE 10:44 am: Extremist, bigot, and all-around loony-tunes ‏@JacksonForLG (EW Jackson) tweets, “I am ready for Ken Cuccinelli’s first debate at 11 AM today.  You can watch it at PBS on line.  Ken has a strong grasp of the issues.” That really says it all about Cuckoo, I’d say.

UPDATE 10:38 am: By the way, the first one of these I ever watched was in 2005, back in the days when there was no live streaming, no YouTube, no Twitter, no Facebook, etc. So…I drove to the Greenbrier to watch Tim Kaine debate Jerry “The Duck” Kilgore. Then, in 2006, I went as Jim Webb’s campaign blogger. Fun times, but it’s a lot easier to just watch it – and live blog it – from home!

UPDATE 10:28 am: ‏@PilotOnPolitics (Julian Walker) tweets, “Before #vbadebate, #vagov candidates set expectations @TerryMcAuliffe  concedes @KenCuccinelli debate skills sez he’ll downplay social stuff.”

UPDATE 10 AM Saturday: I’ve added some pre-debate photos, and a cool infographic about Cuccinelli’s ties to slimeball Jonnie Williams, in the comments section of this post.

  • Tomorrow at 11am is the first gubernatorial debate between Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli. It is taking place at The Homestead and PBS will livestream the event here.

    Be sure to Tweet the questions you would like him to answer today at #Qs4Ken and follow along tomorrow at #VBADebate.

    Here are just a few of the things Cuccinelli needs to explain to the people of Virginia:

    *Ken Cuccinelli is using the Virginia Attorney General’s office to help a major campaign contributor in a legal battle against Virginians. A parent company, Consul Energy, of one of the coal corporations being helped by Ken Cuccinelli’s office, CNX, against the people of Virginia has given $100,000 to Attorney General Cuccinelli’s campaign for governor. (WVTF, June 10, 2013)

    *Cuccinelli, like Bob McDonnell, thinks its fine to take thousands and thousands in gifts without reporting them – oh, and also buy stock in the donor’s company. Jonnie R. Williams, CEO of Star Scientific, “gave the attorney general $18,000 worth of gifts, including frequent stays at Mr. Williams’s homes outside Richmond and in the Blue Ridge Mountains, according to Mr. Cuccinelli’s financial disclosure statements. Mr. Cuccinelli at first failed to report some gifts, as well as his Star Scientific stock, as required by law, which he has said was an oversight.” (New York Times, July 15, 2013)

    Forward to a friend

    *Ken Cuccinelli is in favor of LGBT discrimination and has opposed policies to prevent it. In 2010, “his most aggressive initiative on conservative social issues since taking office,” Cuccinellidemanded state colleges and universities immediately rescind policies offering workplace protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

    *Even the Washington Post thinks his tax plan is based on magic. Ken Cuccinelli’s tax plan “would starve the state of the resources it needs to fund public schools, state colleges and universities, public safety, mental health programs and state parks. Somehow, he would slash $1.4 billion in taxes — about 8 percent of the state’s annual tax collections — but hold revenue steady. It’s economics reduced to magic.” (Washington Post, May 9, 2013)

    *Cuccinelli is the champion of closing women’s health centers and Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. Despite voting in June to exempt existing health centers from these new regulations, the Virginia Board of Health bowed to pressure from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and reversed their decision to grandfather in Virginia’s 20 women’s health clinics. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 3, 2013)

    On video over the summer, Ken Cuccinelli compared his battle “to ban abortion rights to the battle to end slavery.” (WJLA – VIDEO, March 19, 2013)

    On Martin Luther King Day this year, Ken Cuccinelli compared “his fight against the federal requirement that birth control be offered with no copay by insurance plans to King’s fight for equal rights for African Americans.” (Talking Point Memo, Jan. 22, 2013)

  • To: Interested Parties

    From: Josh Schwerin, Press Secretary for McAuliffe for Governor

    Memo: What to expect from Ken Cuccinelli

    Date: July 19, 2013

    In tomorrow’s VBA debate, Virginians should expect to see Ken Cuccinelli’s game plan on full display.  This strategy was described by a top Cuccinelli strategist as, “We have to clearly show and paint another picture of Ken that people haven’t seen before.”  Cuccinelli is a talented, experienced debater and lawyer and he will use those skills to try and paint a dishonest picture of himself.  Washington Post columnist Bob McCartney addressed this strategy earlier this year, stating, “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.”

    Don’t expect to hear Cuccinelli talk about his efforts to outlaw abortion and ban common forms of birth control including the pill or that being gay “brings nothing but self-destruction, not only physically but of their soul.”  Ken Cuccinelli will calmly look Virginian voters in the eye and tell them that he is, and always has been, focused on the economy and nothing else.  Don’t expect Cuccinelli to talk about his efforts to help out-of-state energy companies in their fight against Virginia landowners, instead he’ll talk about protecting Southwest Virginia.  Certainly don’t expect Cuccinelli to talk about his repeated attempts to block the bipartisan transportation compromise that nearly every business leader in the Commonwealth cites as the most important factor in keeping Virginia competitive.

    Voters should expect Cuccinelli to continue his false attacks on Terry McAuliffe.  Whether it’s the false claim that Terry doesn’t have any policy proposals, or the false claim that Terry would change Virginia’s Right to Work laws, Ken Cuccinelli will calmly keep on making these accusations with little regard for the truth.

    Cuccinelli’s claim that he doesn’t overdo it on social issues was laughed at by a room full of Virginia business leaders earlier this year, and his tenure in office has led him to be described as “the most overtly partisan attorney general in Virginia’s history.” But this won’t stop an experienced debater like Ken Cuccinelli from attempting to paint another picture of himself that people have never seen before.

    Most importantly, listen for the number of times Ken Cuccinelli references his time working in Richmond and the experience that he brings to the table.  Then watch as he runs away from his record at each and every step of the debate.

  • From the DPVA:

    On the day before the first debate of the 2013 Governor’s race, new revelations broke about Ken Cuccinelli’s deepening scandal with Star Scientific.

    The Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s investigation into whether Cuccinelli’s failure to disclose Star Scientific stock and gifts from CEO Jonnie Williams broke any laws revealed that Cuccinelli recommended that Williams seek counsel from Jerry Kilgore about getting state grants from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnity Fund.  

    Today’s revelations add to months of wave after wave of news accounts focused on the fact that Cuccinelli failed to disclose Star Scientific stock and thousands in gifts and trip from Williams as his office was supposed to be pursuing Star Scientific over $1.7 million in unpaid taxes.

    Cuccinelli and his office sat on that case for nearly two years before he got caught and public pressure forced him to recuse and find outside counsel to fight for Virginians’ tax dollars.

    Cuccinelli’s damaging conflict of interest with Williams didn’t stop there. His ties to Williams have also become an issue in the prosecution of former Governor’s Mansion chef Todd Schneider, who is accused of embezzlement. Schneider catered a wedding at the Governor’s mansion wedding for which Williams paid $15,000 as a gift to Governor McDonnell.

    Cuccinelli’s office led the prosecution of Schneider until his ties with Williams were made public and he was forced to recuse himself from that case as well. In fact, his office recognized Cuccinelli’s conflict of interest because of his personal ties with Williams and “walled him off” for five months. Last week, a judge ruled the case will proceed to trial in October despite Cuccinelli’s conflict of interest.

    Ken Cuccinelli’s ongoing scandal with Jonnie Williams and Star Scientific raise serious questions about whether he puts his own financial interests ahead of what’s best for Virginia families. For the price of a few gifts and trips Cuccinelli has damaged the reputation of Virginia’s government and made it more difficult for Virginians to get the kind of leadership they deserve from their Attorney General.

    If transparency and accountability mean anything to Ken Cuccinelli he will take his opportunity at tomorrow’s debate to come clean about his relationship with Star Scientific and Jonnie Williams.


    HEADLINE: Virginia’s Attorney General Faces Scrutiny for Ties to Executive [New York Times, 7/16/13]

    Editorial: Cuccinelli “Held Out His Hand for Gifts,” Bought Stock in Star Scientific “Despite Overseeing” Office Involved in Chef Case and Tax Dispute

    In July 2013, the Virginian-Pilot editorial board stated, “Cuccinelli held out his hand for gifts from Williams, too, despite overseeing an office that investigated whether to charge Schneider and dithered on a lawsuit filed against the state by Williams’ company over a $700,000 tax assessment. Cuccinelli failed to disclose an investment of more than $10,000 in Star Scientific; he sold the stock a few months after Schneider met with investigators and connected Williams to the wedding of the governor’s daughter; and he claimed he forgot to report financial gifts, including a Thanksgiving holiday vacation to Williams’ home on Smith Mountain Lake.” [Virginian-Pilot Editorial, 7/16/13]

    HEADLINE: Cuccinelli says he may have helped donor Williams apply for state grants [Roanoke Times, 7/19/13]

    Investigation Revealed Cuccinelli Gave Star Scientific CEO Legal Advice about Applying for State Grants

    In July 2013, the Roanoke Times reported, “The attorney general told the ethics investigators “that he may have suggested that Williams contact a certain attorney at a Richmond law firm ‘to assist him and his company with the Tobacco Fund,’ ” according to a report issued by Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring, quoting an investigators’ findings. Cuccinelli said he couldn’t remember exactly when this occurred, the report added. Cuccinelli was referring to the state’s Tobacco Indemnity Fund, which was set up after the national settlement with cigarette companies in 1998, spokeswoman Anna Nix said.” [Roanoke Times, 7/19/13]

    Cuccinelli Received More than $18,000 From Star Scientific and CEO Jonnie Williams

    In May 2013, the Daily Press reported, “In April Cuccinelli recused himself from the case as he came under scrutiny for owning more than $10,000 in Star Scientific stock and receiving more than $18,000 in gifts from the company’s CEO, Jonnie R. Williams Sr.” [Daily Press, 6/4/13]

    HEADLINE: Cuccinelli: I forgot to report gifts [Free Lance-Star, 4/27/13]

    Gifts Cuccinelli Initially Forgot to Disclose from Williams included Trip to New York, Lake House Vacation and a $1,500 Thanksgiving Dinner

    In April 2013, the AP reported, “Cuccinelli provided reporters with amended statements of economic interest for elected officials for the years 2009 through last year, saying he found five gifts he should have reported earlier but simply overlooked. They include a $3,000 summer vacation and $1,500 family Thanksgiving stay at a lake house owned by Jonnie Williams, head of Star Scientific Inc., and a political backer of Cuccinelli and Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell. He also added a flight worth $628 that he and Williams took in 2009 to a Jewish Community Center event in New York.” [AP, 4/26/13]

    Cuccinelli “Failed to Disclose for Nearly a Year that He Had Substantial Stock Holdings” in Star Scientific

    In March 2013, the Washington Post reported, “Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II failed to disclose for nearly a year that he had substantial stock holdings in a company, even though disclosure is required by law and his office was defending the state in a tax lawsuit filed by the company.” [Washington Post, 3/30/13]

    Washington Post: Cuccinelli Campaign Said Cuccinelli “Didn’t Realize that His Holdings Exceeded $10,000”

    The Washington Post reported, “Cuccinelli, the presumptive Republican nominee for governor, said through a campaign consultant that the attorney general did not disclose his interest in Star Scientific because he didn’t realize that his holdings exceeded $10,000, the threshold for disclosure under state law. Once he realized the oversight, Cuccinelli corrected it, said the consultant, Chris LaCivita.” [Washington Post, 3/30/13]

    Richmond Times Dispatch Editorial: Cuccinelli Recused Himself from Star Scientific Tax Lawsuit After “Considerable Public Pressure was Brought to Bear”

    In April 2013, the Richmond Times Dispatch editorial board stated, “Cuccinelli has now withdrawn from the case and brought in outside counsel to handle it. Yet he did not do so until after the relationship was revealed and considerable public pressure was brought to bear.” [Richmond Times Dispatch Editorial, 4/12/13]

    AP: Star Scientific Lawsuit against the Commonwealth Raised Questions about Cuccinelli’s “Potential Conflicts of Interest”

    In March 2013, the AP reported, “A lawsuit against the state of Virginia by a nutritional supplement maker whose stock comprises Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s total investment portfolio is raising questions about the Republican’s potential conflicts of interest.”  [AP, 3/22/13]

    Case Sat Dormant under Attorney General Cuccinelli since August 2011

    In March 2013 the AP reported, “Henrico-based Star Scientific Inc. sued Virginia’s Department of Taxation in Mecklenberg Circuit Court in July 2011 over a $700,000 tax dispute with the state. A deputy attorney general filed an answer to the complaint the following month. There have been no new motions, pleadings, filings or hearings in the case since.” [AP, 3/22/13]

    …Despite $1.7 Million on the Line for Virginia Taxpayers

    The Roanoke Times editorial board stated, “The stakes are significant for Star Scientific, which is making a push to market a plant-based dietary supplement designed to reduce inflammation. The company could be on the hook for at least $1.7 million in taxes, penalties and interest if it loses the dispute, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.” [Roanoke Times Editorial, 4/2/13]

    Cuccinelli Recused Office from Case against Former Executive Mansion Chef Todd Schneider, Citing a “Conflict of Interest”

    In April 2013, the Washington Post reported, “It is written in the style of an order from the judge, who would only have to sign the form if he decides to grant the recusal. It says simply that the court “has determined that the Office has a conflict of interest in the continued investigation and prosecution of this matter.” [Washington Post, 4/24/13]

    Washington Post: Recusal Appears to be Attempt by Cuccinelli to Distance Himself from Jonnie Williams and Star Scientific

    The Washington Post reported, “Cuccinelli’s recusal effort seems aimed at helping him make a clean break from all matters related to Williams and Star, a financially troubled company that is the subject of a federal securities investigation and two shareholder lawsuits.” [Washington Post, 4/24/13]

    Cuccinelli Campaign Claimed Office “Walled Off” Cuccinelli from Chef Case for Five Months Because of Conflict of Interest with Jonnie Williams

    In July 2013, the Washington Post reported, “Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II’s staff purposely shielded him from allegations of improper behavior by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell for five months last year, knowing the attorney general was friendly with a key donor at the center of those accusations, according to new information released by Cuccinelli’s gubernatorial campaign. Cuccinelli (R) had stayed at the home of Star Scientific Inc. chief executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr. shortly after he took office in 2010, so Cuccinelli’s deputy “walled off” Cuccinelli from a separate criminal investigation into whether a chef at the governor’s mansion had embezzled food, campaign officials said.” [Washington Post, 7/3/13]

  • ConsDemo

    Outside of the Start Scientific exchanges, it was basically a draw.   Kook had the best of the exchange on Martinsburg and union transportation clauses.   Terry had the upper hand on social issues and transportation more generally.   However, Star Scientific is really a problem for Cuccinelli and his answers seemed pretty weak.  Either Woodruff or Terry should have asked him if it was wrong to take the gifts but he has a big problem on his hands as it is.   I can see plenty of hard-hitting campaign commercials made out of Cuccinelli and his buddy Johnnie Williams.

    Btw, I thought Kook was an anti-immigrant fanatic.  He must have flip-flopped on that issue.

  • DGA Statement on Virginia Governor’s Debate

    WASHINGTON, DC- Democratic Governors Association spokesman Danny Kanner today issued the following statement regarding the first debate of the Virginia governor’s race:

    “In today’s debate, Virginians got a taste of what a Cuccinelli governorship would look like: a radical social agenda paired with ethics scandals that compromise his ability to do his job. Ken Cuccinelli looked directly into voters’ eyes and laughably claimed that he hasn’t made a career out of attacking women’s health, scientists, and gay Virginians. And he made it clear he thinks it’s perfectly acceptable that he took thousands of dollars in gifts from a donor, hid those gifts from the public, and then failed to act to collect the $1.7 million that donor owed in state taxes. Virginians don’t want extreme social crusades and more shady ethics in Richmond, they want a governor who will be singularly focused on offering mainstream solutions to create jobs and grow the economy. That’s why Terry McAuliffe will be the next governor of Virginia.”

  • From the McAuliffe campaign:

    Draws Strong Contrast with Cuccinelli’s Record of Pushing Extremist Agenda

    Terry McAuliffe focused on his commitment to finding mainstream, bipartisan solutions to strengthening Virginia’s economy at today’s Virginia Bar Association debate, from supporting workforce development to improving transportation and education in the Commonwealth. Ken Cuccinelli, however, continued his efforts to evade his career-long record of putting his extreme ideological agenda first. Leaders from across the Commonwealth, Democrats and Republicans alike, aren’t falling for Cuccinelli’s thin façade, and are speaking out in support of McAuliffe, who will bring pragmatism and bipartisanship to addressing the challenges Virginia’s economy and communities face.

    Republican and former Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee Dwight Schar states:

    “While today we saw Ken Cuccinelli try to claim he would support improvements in Virginia’s transportation systems, his record speaks for itself. This year, we saw Ken Cuccinelli try at every step along the way to derail the bipartisan transportation compromise-the first transportation funding package in 27 years in the Commonwealth, and the most significant piece of legislation that will ensure that our economy remains competitive in the 21st Century. Ken Cuccinelli is also the only statewide elected official to oppose the Silver Line, and has voted against transportation compromises for the past decade. Terry McAuliffe has proven he is committed to finding bipartisan solutions to tackling Virginia’s toughest challenges. His approach will move the Commonwealth and our transportation infrastructure forward when he is governor.”

    The Longest-Serving Former Republican Delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates Vince Callahan says:

    “Terry McAuliffe’s business and entrepreneurial background well prepares him to make sound fiscal decisions that will ensure that the Commonwealth’s economy remains strong.  He will take a balanced approach to balancing our budget and will make sure that we continue to invest in systems like education and public safety that will provide more economic opportunities for future generations. Ken Cuccinelli, on the other hand, has proposed a $1.4 billion tax cut that would devastate core public responsibilities, including education and economic development, and would likely dry up necessary funding streams that our communities depend on. Cuccinelli’s irresponsible policy will put larger burdens on middle class families and will move Virginia’s economy in the wrong direction.”

    Former CEO and Vice Chairman of Scott & Stringfellow, John Sherman says:

    “Terry’s entrepreneurial and business background prepares him to be the Commonwealth’s next Governor. Like Mark Warner, Terry will bring a pragmatic approach to the office, and his experience will allow him to work across the aisle to solve difficult problems the Commonwealth faces, like sequester. Ken Cuccinelli, on the other hand, has shown that he would rather drive his own extreme ideologies than support bipartisan efforts to move the economy forward. We saw this when he tried to derail the bipartisan transportation compromise earlier this year. Virginia’s voters won’t fall for his baseless claim that he will govern with pragmatism.”

    Senator Donald McEachin states:

    “While Ken Cuccinelli says he would put Virginians first as Governor, his record says otherwise, that is, the part of the record he is willing to share with Virginians.  He still refuses to answer questions about his relationship and the gifts he received from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, a relationship which forced him to recuse himself from two cases involving Star and Williams. He has given his campaign the information, but not his fellow Virginians. As citizens, we need to be able to make our own judgments and we should be given the relevant information to do that.

    But this is the same Ken Cuccinelli who backs campaign donors at the expense of Virginians, giving advice to these donors who are trying to avoid paying Virginia landowners what they are owed and deserve.

    Unfortunately, Ken Cuccinelli has a record, from his time as a State Senator, his tenure in the Attorney General’s office and now in the campaign, of promoting his own political agenda at the expense of the Commonwealth.”

    Delegate David Toscano states:

    “Ken Cuccinelli again avoided discussing the details of his relationship with Star Scientific and Jonnie Williams.  We already know that Ken Cuccinelli owned $10,000 of Star stock, accepted $18,000 worth of gifts from Williams and Star and forgot to report $5,000 of that, even after he had been informed of the investigation between Star and the Governor’s office. We also know that Cuccinelli’s conflict of interest forced him to disqualify himself on two cases involving the company. However, while Cuccinelli and his campaign are claiming that the Attorney General did nothing wrong, they will neither release documents that traded hands between the Attorney General’s office and Cuccinelli’s campaign, nor say that Ken Cuccinelli supports Terry McAuliffe’s commonsense gift ban, which would help avoid these situations in the future.”

    Former Republican and Independent Delegate Katherine Waddell states:

    “While we saw Ken Cuccinelli today try to say he would advocate for Virginia’s women, his record tells a different story. Ken Cuccinelli’s career has been driven by his own extreme ideological agenda that is dangerous for women in Virginia. His efforts to prevent women from making their own health care decisions, his bullying the Board of Health into passing burdensome regulations that are forcing women’s health centers across the state to close, and his refusal to support both stronger equal pay legislation and the reauthorization of the Violence against Women Act shows that Ken Cuccinelli would rather drive his own political ideologies than empower women in Virginia.”

    Senator Ralph Northam, Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia says:

    “While Ken Cuccinelli claims he will focus on growing Virginia’s economy, he opposes the Medicaid expansion, a program that will cover 400,000 uninsured Virginians, including 30,000 veterans, bring $21 billion of taxpayer dollars back to the Commonwealth, and create up to 33,000 jobs when we need them most.  This is a commonsense policy supported by both Democratic and Republican governors alike which will move Virginia’s economy forward.”

    Senator Mamie Locke states:

    “Voters should not believe what they heard from Ken Cuccinelli today when he said his priority is jobs and the economy. His entire career has been driven by his own ideological agenda, from launching an ideological witch-hunt against a University of Virginia professor just for pursuing research he didn’t agree with, trying to roll back anti-discrimination protections for LGBT students and faculty at Virginia’s universities, to putting his extreme tea party agenda ahead of crucial transportation legislation. It is clear that Ken Cuccinelli’s number one priority is his own ideological agenda, not what is best for Virginia’s citizens.”

  • Washington, D.C. – Following this morning’s gubernatorial debate between Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:

    “Today’s debate showed the clear differences between Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli in the race to be Virginia’s next governor. Terry McAuliffe laid out exactly why he is the right person for the job- his agenda will focus on growing the middle class and spurring economic growth for all Virginians.

    “Ken Cuccinelli can’t run from what he supports. He has proven time and again that he places his far-right ideology over doing what’s right for middle class families. That’s why he opposed Virginia’s bipartisan transportation plan and supports an economic plan that slashes taxes for the wealthiest. On social issues, Cuccinelli is far to the right of mainstream Virginians. His support for taking away a woman’s right to choose, a personhood amendment, and defunding Planned Parenthood would be a devastating blow to Virginia’s women. On the issues Virginians care about, today was a clear victory for Terry McAuliffe.”

  • Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC Statement on VA Gov. Debate; Cuccinelli Tries to Hide Record and Agenda on Women’s Health

    RICHMOND – Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC released the following statement today in response to the first gubernatorial debate in Virginia, where Ken Cuccinelli dodged multiple questions about his extreme record and agenda for women’s health. Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Planned Parenthood Votes have been leading the charge to educate voters about Ken Cuccinelli’s dangerous record and agenda for Virginia women.  On February 13, the groups announced the “Keep Ken Out” campaign and on May 15, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund launched a video highlighting Cuccinelli’s terrible record on these issues.

    “Ken Cuccinelli knows his record and agenda on women’s health are out of touch with the majority of Virginians and that’s why he dodged multiple questions at today’s debate. The truth is, throughout his entire career, Ken Cuccinelli has worked to make birth control less affordable and safe and legal abortion, less accessible to Virginia women. He’s even supported extreme and dangerous “personhood” legislation that could interfere in the personal and private medical decisions of Virginia women.  That crusade will surely continue if he makes it to the governor’s mansion,” said Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC, Cianti Stewart-Reid.

    “Terry McAuliffe made it clear that he understands that every woman should be able to make her own personal health care decisions with the counsel of her family, faith, and health care provider – and without interference from politicians in Richmond. As governor, he’ll work to protect and expand access to health care for Virginia women and families – not take it away.

    “Virginia deserves better than a governor who wants to turn back the clock on women’s health and rights. That’s why we’ll be working double time to educate voters about the high stakes in advance of November’s election,” said Stewart-Reid.

  • Va Breeze

    Love the scandal timeline!

  • kindler

    While Terry came across as clear and reasonable on the issues, pleasant and gregarious, Cuccinelli was uptight, personally attacking and finger-pointing, rude like a snotty schoolchild to Judy Woodruff when he twice corrected her, claiming she got the order of questions wrong.  I guess he just can’t help himself.  

    These things matter — a lot.  Even voters who don’t quite get all the issues can pick up who seems like a nice guy or a jerk, and will react accordingly.  We were unlucky last time when we had to face McDonnell, who always comes across as warm, likeable, graceful and moderate — even as he was actually signing bills for forced transvaginal probes and lining his pocket with gifts from Jonnie Williams.

    Cuccinelli is no McDonnell and not even on the same planet politically as ?Ronald Reagan.  The Tea Party Force is strong with this one and he either can’t or won’t hide it.  

    And meanwhile, Terry did a fine job of touching all the right points — transportation, education, economic development, women’s health, respect for science and research, etc.  

    I’m liking this matchup — now we just need to get the Democratic rank and file to sit and pay attention!