Home 2013 races Live Blog: Virginia Gubernatorial Debate (9/25/13)

Live Blog: Virginia Gubernatorial Debate (9/25/13)

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You can watch tonight’s Virginia gubernatorial debate, which begins at 7 pm (see below for my live blog), on either NBC 4 or on C-SPAN3. Also, if you’re following the debate on Twitter, or if you’re tweeting yourself, you can use the hash tag #VAGovDebate. A few Twitter handles you might want to check out include: @TerryMcAuliffe @KenCuccinelli @ChuckTodd (host of the @FairfaxChamber debate) @JoshSchwerin @vademocrats @briancoy @gwenrocco and @brbilberry Also @MoElleithee @PilotOnPolitics @omeola @RTDNolan @JulieCareyNBC @RTDSchapiro and @chelyendavis

UPDATE 8:07 pm: @MoElleithee tweets, “SCREEEEEECHHHH!!!!!!!  That was sound of @KenCuccinelli throwing @BobMcDonnell completely under the bus.” So true. Also, ‏@brbilberry tweets, “What a great night for terry. Sitting next to cuccinelli folks in audience they know this was not what they wanted to see.” Very true; Cooch was really “off”/”rattled” tonight, while Terry was on his “A game.” Huge advantage on style and substance for Terry over Kookinelli.

UPDATE 7:55 pm: Closing statements (thank goodness). Terry: “Virginia women have had just about enough of Ken Cuccinelli.” “Mainstream solutions.” Cooch finally brings up Greentech Automotive, says “Terry will fight for Terry,” while he will supposedly fight for us. Does ANYONE in their right mind believe that?!? If so, what controlled substance are you taking? Also, as I just tweeted, major #FAIL by Chuck Todd et al. tonight in not asking Cooch about his witch hunt against climate scientist Michael Mann, and of course his climate science denial. Those alone should be automatic disqualifiers for higher office in America at this point.

UPDATE 7:53 pm: Question about pre-Labor Day start to school? Should “Redskins” change name. Terry says governor shouldn’t tell private business what to do. Cooch says it’s up to the team entirely. Stupid questions by Chuck Todd. Wasting our time.

UPDATE 7:50 pm: Question to Terry on tax returns. Stupid question, this is not a real issue, as Terry has done as much or more than previous governor candidates. Star Scientific and CONSOL Energy really ARE issues, because they are real scandals – “that was [Cuccinelli’s] legal responsibility.” Has proposed strong ethics reform, will issue executive order on a $100 gift ban. Cooch says he reported the Star Scientific materials, shows how great he is (I think he may have just dislocated his shoulder patting himself on the back). Cooch also keeps saying “Democrat” when it should be “Democratic.” Puerile punk. Throws out a bunch of ridiculous attacks, what a joke.

UPDATE 7:48 pm: Question to Ken Cuccinelli on Jonnie Williams gifts, why he would give them to Cooch? Cooch throws McDonnell under the bus, says it didn’t “seem like a big deal,” had no idea Williams had business before Virginia. WTF? Says it was the “right thing to do” to give $18,000 to charity, even though he previously said there was absolutely nothing unethical about taking the money in the first place. Confused yet? Head spinning? Yeah…

UPDATE 7:44 pm: Question to Terry about gay marriage. Says he’s for marriage equality, this is quite a difference from Cooch, who has referred to LGBT Virginians as “soulless and self destructive.” Cooch says it will never come to the desk of a Virginia governor, says he thinks marriage should be one man/one woman. Cooch immediately starts attacking Terry again. This is really tiresome. Does anyone have one of those giant hooks to pull Cooch off the stage? Terry reiterates that he supports equal rights for LGBT Virginians. Brings up Cuccinelli’s CONSOL Energy scandal, the Attorney General’s office secretly advising CONSOL how to beat Virginia landowners owed money by this out-of-state energy company.

UPDATE 7:39 pm: Question to Cooch on health care affordability for poor Virginians. Cooch says expanding Medicaid is not the way to make it work better. Huh? He makes no sense whatsoever on health care, utterly irrational, just like the rest of the Tea Party. Terry says Medicaid expansion is bipartisan, mainstream, and very important. He adds that this will allow 400,000 Virginians to get crucial health care, that this is the law of the land, and that it’s our money we’re bringing back into Virginia’s economy. Virginia’s rural hospitals could be jeopardized if we don’t take Medicaid money. @ssurovell tweets, “Hey @Juliecarey – Cuccinellis answer to Virginians that would be eligible under Medicaid expansion – MOVE TO MARYLAND.” Cooch says he doesn’t trust the federal government to cough up the money, essentially. He is simply not serious.

UPDATE 7:38 pm: Terry says no budget will be shut down over Medicaid expansion, will work in bipartisan way to make sure it gets done. Notes that he was endorsed by Republican VA Beach Mayor Will Sessoms and many other Republicans. Says (correctly) that Cooch almost derailed Virginia’s budget. Says sequestration or shutting down government are unacceptable. “Shame on everybody” until this gets resolved.

UPDATE 7:35 pm: Question on Ted Cruz, shutting down government over “Obamacare.” Cuccinelli says he doesn’t want to see government shut down, wouldn’t be good for Northern Virginia. Riiiight, so have you told your lunatic Tea Party allies?!? Attacks Terry for saying he wouldn’t sign budget without Medicaid expansion. Of course, Cooch has no revenue sources whatsoever, and opposes Medicaid expansion which would bring in a LOT of money to Virginia. Cooch claims he’s the anti-Washington candidate. Dodges on Ted Cruz. Says he’d like to see Obamacare repealed.

UPDATE 7:31 pm: Terry says without Medicaid expansion money, there’s not a penny for any investment in mental health. As governor, his goal will be to make sure that all Virginians are safe. the Navy Yard incident the other day is part of a continued pattern. Need to eliminate guns from people who shouldn’t have them. @LarrySabato tweets, “TM not shying away from gun control. Will hurt him in rural areas, help him in central cities, urbanized suburbs.” @briandevine tweets, “I wouldn’t bring up NRA ratings in a question about what I am doing about preventing gun violence.”

UPDATE 7:30 pm: Cooch points finger at mental illness, desperately tries to avoid talking about guns or answering the question (about implementing Virginia Tech commission recommendations). Claims gun control doesn’t work…the usual, in other words. “Attacks” Terry for being “F rated” by the NRA. In reality, that is a badge of honor.

UPDATE 7:28 pm: Question by Julie Carey to Terry on guns. Terry says when we drop our children off at school, we need to know they’ll be safe, that’s why I’m for responsible gun ownership, including universal background checks. Notes that he owns gun, is a hunter, has gone through background checks himself and that it’s very simple and quick, but there are certain individuals who shouldn’t own a gun. Says 91% of Americans support universal background checks, and the Senate refused to bring it up for a vote.

UPDATE 7:26 pm: Chuck Todd follows up on Cooch’s lame “loopholes” comment. “What are they?” Cooch says there are “scores of them,” but won’t allow himself to be pinned down to specifics, of course.

UPDATE 7:25 pm: Terry says, correctly, that if we had Cooch’s plan, Virginia would be “in financial ruin.” Also notes that Cooch opposed the Governor’s transportation plan, opposes the Silver Line, won’t take Medicaid money, would devastate education and prevent Virginia from growing a 21st century economy. Would also devastate Fairfax and other localities, would force Virginia to lay off thousands of teachers.

UPDATE 7:23 pm: Question from Aaron Gilchrist about Cuccinelli not providing specifics on how he’d pay for his huge tax cuts. Cooch actually cites North Carolina, which is being destroyed as we speak by the Tea Party, as a model for Virginian. Hmmmm. Claims he’d eliminated “15% of corporate tax loopholes,” but of course doesn’t say which ones. Basically, Cooch doesn’t answer the question. #FAIL

UPDATE 7:19 pm: Cooch claims Terry doesn’t understand how Virginia government works. Refers to Northern VA Technology PAC endorsement, of course fails to mention that group is OVERWHELMINGLY Republican! Cooch says “Governor is not a good entry level job.” You mean, like for Mark Warner, one of our greatest governors? Duhhhhh. The chutzpah of Cuccinelli is amazing, claiming “No one up here has done more to protect women.” Is that supposed to be a joke?  ‏@jeisrael tweets, “And @KenCuccinelli wants to improve Medicaid — which he thinks unconstitutional.”

UPDATE 7:18 pm: Question from Ben Pershing on paying for education. Terry says we’ll look at efficiencies, work to get Medicaid expansion. Prudent budgeting. Cooch has proposed $1.4 billion tax cut, no idea how he’d pay for it, would be devastating for education (thousands of teachers laid off), would put “gigantic hole” in budget.

UPDATE 7:16 pm: Chuck Todd quotes Bill Bolling about how far right the Republican ticket is. Cuccinelli basically disses Bolling. Cooch claims what Terry said is “false,” when of course it’s all true. Is Cooch’s nose growing longer? It should be.

UPDATE 7:15 pm: Terry points out, correctly, that Cooch runs on jobs, then when he gets into office pushes his far-right-wing agenda. Opposed Violence Against Women Act reauthorization. Has attacked gay Virginians. Says there are consequences to this “mean spirited attack” on women’s health, gay Virginians, etc. Says we have to bring people together to move Virginia forward.

UPDATE 7:12 pm: Question to Cuccinelli about pushing his right-wing agenda, be divisive. Cooch points to “broad array of support” he’s been getting, including Democrats (huh?!?).@ProgressVA tweets, “@KenCuccinelli sez has positive record He’s positively been attacking access to health care, LGBT Virginians, public schools.” Cooch says he has basic beliefs that are “fundamental to me,” but absurdly claims he’s spent most of his time trying to move Virginia forward economically. Seriously? He really believes that? Cooch “jokes” that if Terry is elected, we’ll have to change state motto from “Sic Semper Tyrannus” to “Quid Pro Quo.” Hahahahaha. Not.  @ssurovell tweets, “Cuccinelli brags about fighting with Fairfax County to avoid cleaning up our local streams – not something to brag about.”

UPDATE 7:11 pm: Question about ethics, political connections. Terry says he’s spent much of his life volunteering in politics, running businesses, he stands by everything he’s done in his life and is proud of his accomplishments. Points out Ken Cuccinelli’s Star Scientific scandal, $1,500 turkey dinner (“that’s a lot of turkey”), etc.

UPDATE 7:07 pm: Question #1 is on “negative TV ads” and “stereotypes” the other guy is trying to create. Terry gives his bio, emphasizes the importance of his business experience and approach. There are definitely differences between us. Cooch has pushed ideological agenda, bullying Board of Health, shutting down women’s health clinics, etc. Cooch claims he’s run positive ads, which is hilarious, given the reams of negative ads his SuperPAC allies are running. Basically, neither candidate really answers the question.

UPDATE 7:04 pm: Cooch opening statement. Says he’s the only candidate “who won’t need on-the-job training.” The problem, of course, isn’t “training,” but Cooch’s extremist, bigoted ideas.

UPDATE 7:03 pm: Chuck Todd now welcoming the candidates. Terry McAuliffe opening statement begins. Terry says the choice is simple: which candidate will focus on mainstream issues Virginians care about, on the economy, on commonsense solutions. Has assembled a “bipartisan coalition.” Notes that Cuccinelli shook up his campaign, resulting a sharp increase in personal attacks, which he expects more of tonight. But what Virginians want to hear is how we’ll deal with “serious economic headwinds” with sequestration, etc. No Tea Party “gridlock.” We need mainstream solutions now “more than ever.”

UPDATE 7:00 pm: The moderator is Chuck Todd, who hopefully will “commit an act of journalism” tonight. The rules are…NO RULES! Just kidding. 🙂

UPDATE 6:57 pm: @DannyKanner tweets, “@KenCuccinelli will be swinging for fences to erase deficit, but got a feeling the radical agenda can’t be hidden at this pt.”  ‏@BrianCoy tweets, “Waiting for @KenCuccinelli to turn #VAGovDebate into #FlailFest2013 in 3…”


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

    “Tonight’s debate underscored what Virginians are increasingly seeing: Terry McAuliffe is the only candidate in this race with a commonsense agenda to grow the middle class, recruit new businesses, and create jobs in Virginia. It’s why he’s in such a strong position going into the final stretch of this race. Meanwhile, instead of putting forward a plan to grow Virginia’s economy and help middle class families, Ken Cuccinelli is desperately turning back to his Tea Party base and doubling down on the same ideological views that mainstream Virginians have rejected. Virginians increasingly view Cuccinelli negatively, and nothing he did in tonight’s debate will change that fact. From his controversial views on women’s health, LGBT rights and immigration to his support for failed tax policies that hurt Virginia’s middle class families, Ken Cuccinelli has shown and continues to show that he is too out-of-touch to lead.”

  • ConsDemo

    On the whole, McAuliffe had a stronger performance, which is bad for Cuccinelli since he is behind.

    Having said that, McAuliffe wiffed on federal budget discussion with his “pox on both your houses” comment.  The problem is Tea Party/GOP blackmail, pure and simple and they should be called on it.

  • Today at the Fairfax Chamber debate, Terry McAuliffe laid out his mainstream vision for growing Virginia’s economy and creating more opportunities for all Virginians. At the same time, Ken Cuccinelli continued to desperately attack Terry McAuliffe and attempted to whitewash his record of driving an extreme social agenda. Ken Cuccinelli’s record speaks for itself-he has time and again put his own agenda ahead of what’s best for Virginia, and what’s best for our economy.

    “Terry showed Virginians tonight that he is committed to finding bipartisan solutions to growing and diversifying the our economy. Ken Cuccinelli, meanwhile, spent his time attacking Terry in a last ditch effort to make up for his career of driving an extreme social agenda that includes attacking women’s access to health care and demonizing gay Virginians. With just over 40 days left until voters choose their next governor, Virginians won’t be fooled by Cuccinelli’s desperate and misleading attacks tonight,” said McAuliffe spokesperson Josh Schwerin.

    Here’s what Republicans and Democrats alike are saying:

    Former Republican Delegate Vince Callahan

    Terry McAuliffe is the right choice to be Virginia’s next governor.  I am confident he will work with Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to grow our economy and create jobs.  Ken Cuccinelli has proposed a tax plan that will create a $1.4 billion deficit in Virginia’s budget, thus putting greater burdens on middle class families.  Terry supports commonsense policies like transportation and education investments that will provide more economic opportunities for all Virginians.”

    Former Independent Delegate Katherine Waddell

    “Virginians need a governor who will let women make their own healthcare decisions, and will focus on mainstream issues like job creation and economic development. Terry McAuliffe has a plan to strengthen education, invest in our infrastructure, and support workforce development programs–policies that will attract the best businesses to the Commonwealth. Ken Cuccinelli, on the other hand, has dedicated his career to driving an extreme ideological agenda, including efforts to pass “personhood” legislation that would ban many common forms of birth control like the pill. These are not the types of issues our lawmakers should be focused on or policies that will encourage businesses or families to want to locate in Virginia, which is why it is so important that we elect Terry McAuliffe as our next governor.”

    Senator Barbara Favola

    “Terry has a strong plan to diversify and grow Virginia’s economy amidst federal spending cuts. He has shown that he will sit down with members of both parties to find mainstream ways to keep our economy competitive, such as investing in transportation and workforce development programs through our community colleges.”

    Senator John Edwards

    “Terry McAuliffe has shown that he will make job creation and economic growth his top priority as governor, while Ken Cuccinelli has time and again put his own ideology and interests ahead of what is best for Virginia. Here in Southwest Virginia, we saw Ken Cuccinelli’s office give legal assistance to out-of-state energy companies – one of which gave over $100,000 to Cuccinelli’s campaign – trying to avoid paying gas royalties to Virginia landowners. We deserve a governor who will do what’s best for our Commonwealth, not himself.

    Senator Donald McEachin

    “Democrats, Republicans and Independents want leaders in Richmond who will focus on growing our economy with mainstream, common sense proposals. I’m supporting Terry McAuliffe because I know he’ll put job creation and economic development first.”

    Hampton Mayor Molly Ward

    “Terry McAuliffe supports commonsense policies that will benefit Hampton Roads and communities across the Commonwealth. His support for the bipartisan transportation compromise showed that he will work with Republicans and Democrats to find solutions to the challenges our region faces, and will implement policies that will keep our economy competitive for future generations.”

  • ir003436

    Cooch previewed a GOTP talking point with his claim that, because Terry has not held elected office, “Governor is not an entry-level job” . . . or words to that effect.

    Of course, no one pointed out that Cooch supported Mitt Romney who pursued the presidency as an entry-level job.