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Video: Tom Perriello Rips NRA as “Nutjob Extremist” Group, Gets Heated with Reporter Over “Contrasts” w/Ralph Northam

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I wanted to highlight two interesting, revealing exchanges yesterday on the Kojo Nnamdi Show’s Politics Hour yesterday, where 2017 Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello was a guest. The first exchange gets into Perriello’s views on the NRA “then and now.” The second exchange, with reporter Tom Sherwood, gets quite heated over whether Perriello should explain where he differs/contrasts in policy, ideology, approach to governance, etc, etc. with his fellow 2017 Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam.  Personally, my view is that the purpose of primaries is in large part about the various candidates laying out their policy preferences, ideologies, leadership styles, etc., and explaining how those contrast with their opponents and why voters should pick them for those very reasons…

Question from “Bruce”: You had the endorsement of the NRA when you ran for Congress. Do you expect to seek the NRA endorsement again?

Tom Perriello: Definitely not. You know, I feel less like I’ve left than that they’ve left me. I fought very hard for the Manchin-Toomey commonsense gun reform. I helped run a national advocacy group that was one of the leaders in pushing for commonsense gun reform. You know, when I grew up the NRA was at my Boy Scout and YMCA camps with target practice and gun safety and protecting wilderness. And now they’ve really become a nutjob extremist organization, as I’ve called them before, that is much more interested in representing the gun makers than responsible gun owners. I do believe the Second Amendment protects people’s right to bear arms, and I think that’s consistent with moves towards commonsense gun reform that I have actively advocated for at the national level…

Sherwood: You know, I live in the District, I don’t have any personal thing in this campaign, but Ralph Northam sat right where you’re sitting and said virtually the same thing with as much passion. So I’m just trying to decide here on the Politics Hour…you call him a statesman in your letter to the Virginians. I’m just looking for a compare-and-contrast, one thing where you think he could have been more aggressive, not because you’re trying to tear him down.

Perriello: So why, you’ve asked me this four times, why do you think that it’s important for us to be against each other?

Sherwood: Because I can cite the political boilerplate of wanting to make things better for anybody. But if you don’t want to talk about your contrasts…I just think one contrast would be good tat you have more experience…world experience, that Virginia has a world economy, what you think you can bring to it. I mean, something that says you’re different from him. Otherwise, it’s just roll out boilerplate politics.

Perriello: So, let me actually turn the tables on you. I actually think you’re getting a little bit wrong what the role of the reporter is and the politician…

Sherwood: This is a political analysis show.

Perriello: I don’t think the role of the politician should be to go negative and draw contrasts…

Sherwood: I don’t want you to do…

Perriello: …I think that what reporters can do is look into my history and his history; you can find meaningful contrasts and the rest, but I think we can focus on the positive…