UPDATE 7:59 pm: McAuliffe says COVID is tough, could be with us another 18 months, that Virginia needs someone with experience who’s been successful before as governor. Says he has 20 real plans on his website, go check them out. Says many Republicans have endorsed him, including conservative Bill Kristol and numerous former delegates. Says Youngkin is too extreme – endorsed by Trump, wants to ban abortions, thinks “election integrity” is the most important issue, etc. Says “I am running for YOU!”
UPDATE 7:57 pm: Youngkin’s closing statement basically repeats a lot of what he already said…almost all not true. Rails against “over-taxation and over-regulation.” Falsely claims McAuliffe embraces “radical groups that want to defund police and close prisons.” Absurdly claims the education system is failing, and that the supposed reason is that McAuliffe has “sold out to the teacher’s unions.” Says that he’ll cut taxes while investing the largest education budget in the history of Virginia, which of course is a MASSIVE contradiction and essentially impossible.
UPDATE 7:55 pm: Question on the Robert E. Lee statue. McAuliffe said he was happy to be rid of this of symbol of “division and hate.” Says he banned Confederate flag from the Virginia license plate, that we don’t need symbols of “racism or division.” We need to work together, get people vaccinated, invest in education, recruit those jobs. Youngkin says the statue should have been left alone, that localities should make these decisions, that we need to remember our history, blah blah.
UPDATE 7:53 pm: Youngkin asked about “Critical Race Theory,” falsely claims it’s been “in our schools for quite a while,” supposedly going to back to “Terry’s time as governor.” That’s total bulls***, of course. In fact, as the questioner noted, CRT is NOT taught in Virginia’s public schools. Youngkin then lies and falsely claims McAuliffe wants to lower standards in schools, which is laughable. McAuliffe says Youngkin’s education plan would cut 43,000 teachers. McAuliffe correctly states that CRT is a big “dog whistle,” divides people, that we need to bring people together not tear them apart. Youngkin then falsely claims McAuliffe is lying about Youngkin’s education plan.
UPDATE 7:51 pm: Asked about protections for transgender students, McAuliffe says school boards have their fingers on the pulses of their local communities, says he hates the divisiveness we’re seeing these days, including children being demonized. Says we need the best education system in the country, that we’re doing great on education and has a plan to take it to the next level.
UPDATE 7:48 pm: Youngkin says if he loses the election, he’ll recognize McAuliffe as governor, but he doesn’t think that will happen. McAuliffe says the same, “absolutely,” but “we’re going to win.” Says Youngkin’s “Day 1 plan” will be to “unleash COVID.” Says when he was governor, Youngkin invited him to his conference and praised his leadership of Virginia. McAuliffe wonders what happened to Youngkin since then.
UPDATE 7:45 pm: McAuliffe says Youngkin’s been endorsed by Trump three times, said “so much of the reason why I’m running is because of Donald Trump.” McAuliffe points out that Trump’s done tremendous damage to America, that Youngkin is following Trump’s policies, that his top economic advisor is Trump’s economic advisor. McAuliffe then says we’ve had a GREAT 8-year run, made Virginia an open and welcoming state, created 100s of 1000s of jobs, etc.
UPDATE 7:43 pm: Youngkin says he does not believe there’s been significant voter fraud in Virginia elections, says he wishes Biden wasn’t our president but that he is, also goes back to 2000 and Gore vs. Bush…whatever. Claims Florida (!) is a model for election systems. LOL Youngkin says he does not agree with Trump that Democrats will cheat in this election.
UPDATE 7:42 pm: On “Right to Work,” Youngkin says he “absolutely” won’t repeal it, while McAuliffe supposedly will, and that repealing it would be the “death knell” for Virginia’s economy. McAuliffe says Youngkin has made 100s of millions of dollars and doesn’t care about workers cleaning bed pans.
UPDATE 7:39 pm: McAuliffe notes that the governor doesn’t do property taxes, that’s a local issue. Pledges to grow the economy. Says Youngkin’s economic plan has been panned by the WaPo and Roanoke Times as running Virginia’s economy into the ditch. Says Youngkin’s top economic advisor is Stephen “Trumponomics” Moore. Youngkin then falsely claims what McAuliffe said is false. Youngkin cites – wait for it – the far right “Jefferson Institute” (LOL; for more on them, see here!). McAuliffe says we have a budget surplus, that it’s not Youngkin’s money to give back. When Youngkin tries to cut him off, McAuliffe says “this isn’t a Carlyle board room, it’s my turn!” Zing!
UPDATE 7:33 pm: Question on qualified immunity for police officers. Youngkin claims Virginia is at “20-year high” in the murder rate, that qualified immunity protects “law enforcement heroes from frivolous civil lawsuits,” claims he hasn’t met as “single law enforcement hero who does not want to root out bad police.” Says he’ll protect qualified immunity, that law enforcement supposedly trust him and not McAuliffe. For his part, McAuliffe says he wouldn’t end qualified immunity, that if an officer is acting in good faith, Virginia will absolutely have their back. But if a law enforcement officer breaks the law, that’s where qualified immunity ends. McAuliffe says he will always step up and protect law enforcement because they’re out they’re every day protecting us. Also says he raised law enforcement pay when he was governor, also had the lowest crime rate of any state in America. Youngkin again claims McAuliffe is not telling the truth on this issue, which is…not true. McAuliffe adds that he got awards from the sheriffs association and state police. Says Youngkin’s economic plan would effectively defund the police, that’s why the WaPo said if you vote for Youngkin, you’re making a “grave error.”
UPDATE 7:30 pm: Youngkin dodges McAuliffe question about nurses treating immunocompromised people being mandated to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Youngkin demagogues about the Parole Board, McAuliffe says if someone does something inappropriate on the Parole Board they should be removed. McAuliffe says that when he was governor, Virginia had among the lowest crime rates and recidivism rates in America. Says Youngkin’s economic plans would run Virginia into a ditch, according to three independent studies. Also says Youngkin has stated “election integrity” is the most important issue facing Virginia, which McAuliffe says it’s the “Trump crazy 2020 stuff,” that the ACTUAL most important issue is jobs/the economy.
UPDATE 7:21 pm: Question on abortion. McAuliffe says Youngkin “wants to ban abortions,” got caught secretly on tape, said he wasn’t going to tell voters because he knows it’s a vote loser. McAuliffe says that if Virginia adopted a Texas-style abortion ban, companies – Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. – would leave the Commonwealth. Youngkin says abortion is an “incredibly sensitive and personal topic,” says he “wouldn’t sign the Texas bill today,” that it’s “unworkable and confusing,” that he supports exceptions for the life of the mother, rape and incest. Youngkin then goes on offense, falsely claims that McAuliffe’s views on abortion are extreme, also falsely claims that McAuliffe doesn’t want to talk about this topic (the exact opposite is true). Youngkin then totally warps what Gov. Northam said about late-term abortion. Youngkin then dodges a followup question from Susan Page. McAuliffe says “I will protect your rights,” that “I was a brick wall” against bills to defund Planned Parenthood and ban abortion. Says he’s terrified at the Trump Supreme Court rolling back Roe v Wade, and that it should be enshrined in the Virginia constitution. Youngkin then falsely claims McAuliffe isn’t telling the truth in some way, that he’s “the most extreme pro-abortion candidate in America today.” WTF? McAuliffe says he supports a woman’s right to make her own decisions through the second trimester, and that 80% of Virginians agree with that position, that Virginians do NOT agree with Glenn Youngkin on this issue at all.
UPDATE 7:17 pm: Question on climate and the Virginia Clean Economy Act. Youngkin claims, falsely, that SW Virginia has not received support from Richmond (in fact, SW Virginia is a major net RECIPIENT of funds from the state government). Youngkin says he would NOT have signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), then spews out a bunch of lies about the VCEA, says he supports ALL energy sources (#FAIL), also falsely claims natural gas is “clean.” McAuliffe says “of course I’d sign it,” says he STRONGLY supports clean energy, that among other things it means JOBS. McAuliffe, of course, is correct on this. McAuliffe is also correct that cleantech jobs represent a HUGE economic opportunity for Virginia. “I believe in clean energy.” Youngkin complains that McAuliffe wants to accelerate the goals set in the VCEA, lies and fearmongers that there would be blackouts/brownouts and “destabilize” the energy grid. (Oh yeah, and Youngkin seems to think we can move Virginia towards clean energy without a plan; also doesn’t mention the climate crisis, which is absolutely urgent! Total failure on this extremely important issue by Youngkin, should in and of itself be *disqualifying*!)
UPDATE 7:12 pm: On the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC), McAuliffe says he’ll make sure “all of our agencies work, as I did last time.” Says he worked in a bipartisan way as governor, that’s why so many Rs have endorsed him. Will invest time, resources, whatever is needed to make the economy work and the VEC work. Youngkin claims, absurdly, that Virginia had a “failed rollout of the vaccine” (in fact, Virginia’s been very successful). Claims he’ll go to work on Day 1 and make government work for Virginians. McAuliffe says he has a record of creating jobs. Says Youngkin left the Carlyle Group because they “threw him out,” but while at the Carlyle Group they neglected seniors, “people died,” outsourced jobs to foreign countries. Youngkin claims McAuliffe is lying, that McAuliffe invested “millions of dollars of his money” that Bill Clinton supposedly “let him scrape off the money he was raising for the Clinton Foundation.” McAuliffe said the investment was a bad one…
UPDATE 7:09 pm: Youngkin claims, falsely, that what we’re going to hear from McAuliffe is “a series of lies and excuses…and radical positions.” Claims his position on the vaccine has been “very clear.” Attacks McAuliffe for supposedly wanting to make people’s lives “difficult.” McAuliffe says Youngkin’s “PSA” dare is a “political stunt,” that “he’s not requiring vaccinations.” “This is a tough job being governor.” “He’s telling college students, if you don’t want to get it, don’t get it.” Youngkin says it’s a “lie” that he’s “anti-vax.” Claims McAuliffe appointed a woman to the GMU board who is “absolutely anti-vax” because he gave her “100s of 1000s of dollars” to his campaign. McAuliffe – “who cares about a PSA?” It’s all “puff words” by Youngkin.
UPDATE 7:06 pm: Terry McAuliffe says he’s been very out front on the need for people getting vaccinated. McAuliffe says Youngkin’s used anti-vax rhetoric, has encouraged college students to just fill out an exemption of they don’t want the vaccine. Says Youngkin’s irresponsible rhetoric on COVID-19 vaccines is “life threatening” and “disqualifying” for governor. Says he supports mandating vaccinations, that PSAs won’t get you anything. Says he absolutely would add COVID-19 to list of required vaccinations to those over age 12.
UPDATE 7:05 pm: Glenn Youngkin trying to explain his views on COVID-19 vaccines, claiming he supports people getting vaccinated, but doesn’t want to mandate them. Wants to do a “PSA” with Terry McAuliffe. Youngkin says he doesn’t believe President Biden has the authority to mandate the vaccine.
UPDATE 7:01 pm: Susan Page welcoming everyone to the debate and laying down the rules.
UPDATE Thursday 6:30 pm: I’ll live blog the debate, below. Should be interesting…
People are asking where they can watch the Virginia gubernatorial debate (being hosted by the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, and being moderated by Susan Page – Washington Bureau Chief of USA Today) on Thursday evening from 7 to 8 pm. See below for the channels and online livestream links:
RICHMOND – CBS (WTVR)
CHARLOTTESVILLE – CBS (WCAV) and NBC (WVIR)
HAMPTON ROADS – CBS (WTKR)
ROANOKE – CBS (WDBJ) and WXFR (FOX); not linking to Fox
WASHINGTON DC – ABC (WJLA); not linking to this Sinclair-owned station