To: Interested Parties
From: Joanne Peters, Mark Warner for Virginia Deputy Campaign Manager
Date: July 25, 2014
Re: What to expect in tomorrow’s Virginia Bar Association Debate
In tomorrow’s debate between Senator Mark Warner and Ed Gillespie, Virginians will see a stark contrast between two candidates with different histories in Virginia.
Senator Warner will discuss his track record as Virginia’s Governor and Senator – a proven record of reaching across the aisle to find commonsense solutions to help Virginians. Senator Warner will lay out a clear vision for how he will continue to work to implement policies to ensure that all Virginians have the same fair shot he had.
Ed Gillespie, on the other hand, will likely debate as he has campaigned: evasively and without substance, spending most of his time attacking Senator Warner instead of talking about the issues Virginians care about. With no record to run on after spending his career as a multi-million dollar DC lobbyist for companies like Enron, Gillespie – the self-described “partisan warrior” — has spent this campaign launching baseless partisan attacks at Senator Warner, and we expect more of that approach tomorrow.
Make no mistake, Ed Gillespie is an expert debater who has led debate and nomination preparation sessions for Presidential, Vice Presidential and Senatorial candidates, as well as Supreme Court justices. He has debated on the Sunday national talk shows dozens of times. He even played the role of Creigh Deeds in Gov. McDonnell’s debate prep sessions. Ed Gillespie will use his debate expertise to avoid taking a firm stand on the issues, and instead will offer his usual polished, poll-tested sound bites. But at the end of the day, it will be clear that Mark Warner is the only candidate with solutions, not sound bites.
We expect Ed Gillespie to continue to duck and dodge questions by offering sound bites, not solutions
- Ed Gillespie will continue to avoid stating his position on the issues and will instead resort to his favorite partisan attack, that Mark Warner is supposedly voting in lock step with the President. Independent experts have called his claims “misleading” and point to Senator Warner’s long track record of bipartisan solutions.
- Ed Gillespie will continue to avoid saying where he stands on issues important to Virginians. He has yet to answer questions stating where he stands on:
- Whether he believes that climate change is caused by human activity
- What he would “replace” the health care law with as part of his repeal and replace mantra
- Where he stands on a number of issues impacting a woman’s ability to make her own health care decisions
- Where he stands on comprehensive immigration reform proposals
- How he will reduce the debt and deficit
- How he plans to make college more affordable
- Ed Gillespie will continue to avoid talking about his real resume as a DC lobbyist and “partisan warrior.” He calls himself a small businessman, but what he doesn’t tell Virginians is that he spent the bulk of his career as a Washington lobbyist where he made millions lobbying for companies like Enron, who paid him and his firm $700,000 to help them rig the energy markets. He’ll fail to mention that he once said he was “happy to be a partisan warrior.” And he’ll fail to explain how he and Karl Rove spent years pushing around secret special interest money and building Super PACs that ran hundreds of millions of dollars in negative attack ads around the country.
- Ed Gillespie will continue to avoid discussing his record of championing the policies that led to the financial crisis as an advisor for President Bush. He will avoid discussing the fact the national debt increased by 86% under President Bush.
- Ed Gillespie will continue to avoid discussing his condescending comments saying that minimum wage jobs are where “you play on the work softball team or go out for a beer after work.” He will fail to clarify if he thinks this is an accurate description of minimum wage work.
Mark Warner will discuss his long track record of finding bipartisan solutions and his plans to continue working to ensure all Virginians have a fair shot
- Mark Warner’s track record: As Governor, Mark Warner balanced Virginia’s budget, turning a $6 billion deficit into a $1 billion surplus. He didn’t do this through gimmicks and sound bites like a “balanced budget amendment,” but by rolling up his sleeves and reaching across the aisle to work with a Republican legislature to find common ground.
- Mark Warner’s track record: In the Senate, Mark Warner has said from day one that the Affordable Care Act was not perfect and has worked to fix it. He introduced the “Copper Plan,” which would provide more affordable options, and has proposed that insurance be sold across state lines. He has also worked to reduce some of the burdensome reporting requirements for businesses.
- Mark Warner’s track record: As Senator, Mark Warner has continued to work with Republicans to get things done. He formed the bipartisan Gang of Six to find a solution to reduce the national debt and deficit. He joined with Republican Darrell Issa to pass groundbreaking legislation to bring transparency to government spending. He has worked with Republicans on legislation to help startup companies create jobs, fix our crumbling infrastructure, and reform our housing system. This bipartisan approach is why former Republican Sen. John Warner endorsed him and why more Republican former legislators are endorsing him this time than when he first ran.
- Mark Warner’s track record: While partisan gridlock has gotten in the way of helping our veterans and military families, Mark Warner hasn’t waited for Congress to act. He’s gone to anyone who is willing to work with him to get things done. When it was reported that the Army’s Arlington National Cemetery was routinely misidentifying and misplacing burial remains, Mark Warner recruited the Northern Virginia Technology Council to help fix the problem. He successfully pushed the Veterans Administration to adopt a model at the College of William and Mary to help speed up the processing of veterans claims through the Puller Clinic. And he successfully pressed the V-A to close a loophole that prevented female veterans from receiving PTSD coverage.
In summary: Virginians will see two candidates on stage on Saturday: one problem solver, and one “partisan warrior.”
Ed Gillespie has called himself a “partisan warrior,” and if he went to Washington he would only make the partisan gridlock worse. He won’t offer any solutions to make things better, only sound bites. He can’t run on his record, because it involves lobbying for Enron while they committed the biggest corporate fraud in American history and raised energy prices for consumers, and championing the Bush fiscal policies that drove the country into the ditch. The last thing that Washington needs is another partisan warrior.
Mark Warner has spent his career working to find commonsense bipartisan solutions for Virginians. He has a long track record of reaching across the aisle and rolling up his sleeves to get things done. He balanced Virginia’s budget, and he’s pulled Republicans and Democrats together in the Senate to tackle our nation’s debt and deficit. He believes that every American deserves the same fair shot that he had, and he’ll continue working to get things done for Virginians. Virginians want a problem solver, not a partisan warrior.