Hit it out of the park, Terry…


    ( – promoted by lowkell)

    When listening to political debates, rarely does the moderator ask a question that makes me sit back and think: “nicely phrased … wouldn’t have thought to ask this … interested to hear the answer …”  Chuck Todd’s opening question at the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce debate about advertising fostered that reaction.

    As posed to our next governor, Terry McAuliffe

    Nearly $20 million’s been spent on TV ads in this race. 75% of ’em, we did the calculation, have been negative. This is both of you. I want each of you to respond to the stereotype you’ve been tryin’ to create– about the other. Mr. McAuliffe, the stereotype of you is that you’re an operator, cheerleader more than a legislator or governor. That you don’t have the relevant experience to be governor. And that you’re a man in a hurry, who’s willing to use political connections, sometimes in very high places, to take shortcuts. Your response?

    This question provided Terry a chance to hit a homer out of the park, make news, undercut Cuccinelli, and add — in my opinion, with just this one question response and the reporting that might have followed from it — points to the lead.  

    See after the fold for a concept for a(n overly long) truthful response to the question that might have achieved this result.

    Responding to messages:

    Thank you, Todd, for this question and the chance to respond to the serial character assassination efforts that, in fact, represent not just a misrepresentation of me but a disservice to Virginians.

    I created my first business when I was 14 years old.  Rather than a youth who wanted to earn some money on his own, to save money for college and have money to take a girl on a date, if we listened to the abusive attack ads, evidently I must have been an incredibly politically connected teenager to be able to create my successful business.  And, listening to those ads, perhaps it is a bad thing for teenagers and Americans to be entrepreneurial.

    Now, in creating that business, of course I first approached neighbors that I knew.  Don’t all successful business people leverage the relationships that they have built, with people who have confidence in them because of the quality that they have already delivered to them.

    In my political life and in my business life, of course I have been willing to pick up the phone and call people I know, to work with them, to get their advice, to have them help me figure out best paths to success.  

    And, looking over my career, it is self-evident that there are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents in my ‘rolodex’.  

    Somehow, if you listen to the attack ads, having built up good will with people across the political divide, with people in business, academe, the clergy, and otherwise, such that they will pick up the phone and be ready to work with you is somehow a bad thing.

    Listening to those attack ads, perhaps you’d get the impression that it is a good thing to be so ideologically pure that the only people who would return your call are those responsible for shutting down the Federal government and undermining our nation’s ability to do business.  

    I hold it as a badge of honor that there are thousands of people — across the nation, across the political spectrum — who are ready to work with me, even if they don’t agree with me on every issue, to figure out how to get things done.

    And, unlike some people, I haven’t had to make it an effort to return $10,000s of “gifts” amid criminal investigations.

    And, when Governor, I proudly tell you now that I plan to leverage that Rolodex to get things done on behalf of all of the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    Turning to another item, over 20 years ago, I chose to move to Virginia. I chose to become a Virginian.  And, I made a choice such that my four children are native-born Virginians.  

    Evidently, according to the attack ads, one who chooses to become a citizen of the Commonwealth and who votes, pays taxes, and lives in the Commonwealth is somehow not a real Virginian.  

    This makes me wonder — just how many Virginians have been citizens for less than 20 years and who, evidently, aren’t considered real Virginians by my opponent?

    This makes me wonder — just how long does one need to live, vote, and pay taxes in the Commonwealth of Virginia before my opponent would consider them real Virginians? 25 years? 30 years?  Or, do you have to be born in Virginia to be an actual Virginian?

    This makes me wonder — thinking about my opponent’s efforts to control a woman’s right to choose, perhaps one needs to be conceived in the Commonwealth to be a real Virginian.

    The Commonwealth is strengthened by attracting the best and brightest from around the nation, from around the world, to come and live here.  The attack ads on me are saying ‘don’t bother coming, because you won’t be considered or treated as a real Virginian.’  Our immigrants — whether from New Jersey or India or West Virginia — are real Virginians, to be welcomed with open arms as we create a better future for all of Virginia and all Virginians.

    Finally, I like to get things done. I wake up, every morning, enthused about moving things forward. I find it truly rewarding to go to sleep at night knowing that I achieved something that day.  Evidently, if you listen to the attack ads, getting things done and working passionately to help people is somehow a mistake.  

    In short, contrary to the attack ads messaging, I am a proud Virginian who has worked successfully with a broad range of people who will work, tirelessly, to make Virginia a better and stronger Commonwealth.


    Terry’s actual response to Chuck Todd’s question:

    I’m a young man who grew up in– Syracuse, New York. I started my first business when I was 14 years old, ’cause I had to help pay for college. I’ve been involved in a number of businesses since that time, chairman of a bank by the age of 30, built thousands of homes. I’ve been involved in a wide variety of different businesses. I want to bring that business approach, that business experience. I think it’s important to have someone in the governor’s office who has those business experience, understands the ups and downs of businesses, understands that risk is inherent in our economy, and is willing to put everything in to make sure we grow and diversify our economy.

    With sequestration, with the budget cuts that we have seen in the Department of Defense, with $500 billion, the stimulus is over, the next governor’s real challenge is how do you grow and diversify our businesses? How do we create new economic activity? Dorothy and I would love to have our five children stay in Virginia. But in order to stay in Virginia, we need to have those jobs of the 21st century, cyber security, nanotechnology, bio life sciences. Those are what we need to do to grow our economy.

    Now we have had a lot of different ads. And there are differences between the two of us. My opponent has spent most of his career on a social ideological agenda. He has– pushed personhood legislation which would outlaw most forms of contraception, would make the pill illegal in Virginia. He bullied the Board of Health that would shut down the woman’s health centers. Women are 50% of the workforce of the United States of America. You cannot grow an economy by putting walls up around Virginia

    • Constable Fraser

      It will amuse me greatly if, after McAuliffe’s election, he turns out to be the best governor Virginia’s ever had.

      How I’ll laugh at all the nay-sayers then!

    • DJRippert

      I think Terry McAuliffe will confound his critics if (when?) he is elected governor.  Unlike Ken Cuccinelli (who was born in New Jersey and attended a private high school in Washington, DC) I am one of those “real Virginians”.  As such, I was taught Virginia history almost ad nauseum at the public high school I attended in Fairfax County.  Virginia is the only state where the sitting governor cannot run for a second consecutive term.  Many states have term limits but none prevent a first term governor from running for re-election.  This dynamic erases an important check on the power of the General Assembly.  It also almost guarantees that little gets done by our state government.  The only way any governor gets anything done is by crossing the aisle.  Who do you think is more likely to cross the aisle – Terry McAuliffe or Ken Cuccinelli?  Hell, Cuccinelli can’t even get along with other Republicans!  He’ll accomplish nothing as governor.  Meanwhile, McAuliffe worked to help Bob McDonnell with his transportation bill.  He’ll get things done.  OK, that’s the context.

      Virginia has a problem – federal spending in the state is slowing.  It’s not just the shutdown, it’s not just the sequester.  The post 9/11 defense spending spree in the Old Dominion is running out of steam.  Federal spending in Virginia won’t end, it won’t go to zero but it will shrink.  The next governor will have to start a decades long program to wean Virginia off its excessive dependence on federal spending.  This is going to take a lot of work and a lot of salesmanship.  The education system must be revamped.  Investors must be convinced to diversify into Virginia from their present fascination with Silicon Valley, Cambridge, MA etc.  Bob McDonnell’s epic transportation victory was a big step in the right direction but he’s been neutered by Star Scientific and hasn’t been able to follow up on that advance.  The next governor will have to move fast.  Who do you think would inspire more confidence in out of state investors – Ken Cuccinelli or Terry McAuliffe?

      McAuliffe will have a tough row to hoe.  He needs to hit the ground running.  I hope he and his team are already thinking about his cabinet.  McAuliffe might be well advised to keep some of the Republicans.  Yes, that might help the RPV maintain some momentum.  However, when you can’t run for a second consecutive term you need to move fast.  Keeping some of the folks that learned the ropes under McDonnell would be a surprising and, in my opinion, effective idea.