See below for video and highlights from tonight’s second and final Virginia gubernatorial debate, between Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe and Republican nominee and Trump endorsee Glenn Youngkin. The debate is being held at Northern Virginia Community College’s Alexandria Campus, and (unfortunately) is going to be moderated by “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd. For highlights from the first debate, on September 16, click here.
UPDATE 7:56 pm – Closing statements. Youngkin’s statement is more blather, this time about “broken politics” and how “you deserve better.” Haha, he actually uses his much-mocked phrase “rip-roaring economy.” LOL McAuliffe says you just heard Youngkin introduce himself to Northern Virginia voters, and it was all an act. In fact, he is far-right, focused on “election integrity,” is tied to Donald Trump. Says he wants Virginia to “take off like a booster rocket!”
UPDATE 7:55 pm – McAuliffe pledges to serve his entire term of governor. Youngkin says if Trump’s the republican nominee in 2024, he’ll support them. That ALSO should be utterly disqualifying. F’ing disgraceful, after all the crimes Trump committed, and as Trump STILL is trying to destroy America’s democracy. WTF???
UPDATE 7:54 pm – Youngkin claims he knows how to run a business, but of course doesn’t mention that he has ZERO experience in running a government. McAuliffe says it’s “so frightening” to listen to Youngkin’s “crazy talking points” like Trump – “he’s just clueless!” “We’ve got to deal with reality here.” McAuliffe says Congress ought to “follow the Virginia model” and get things done, “that’s why so many Republicans have endorsed me.”
UPDATE 7:50 pm – Wow, Chuck Todd actually asking about climate change? Miraculous. Youngkin says we have a challenge but doesn’t say the words “climate change” or “climate crisis” or “global warming” or anything of the sort. Then proceeds to bash the Virginia Clean Economy Act, falsely claims that natural gas is “clean burning,” fearmongers falsely about power outages, again claims natural gas is “clean burning,” which is wildly false. McAuliffe says he wants Virginia to transition to clean power by 2035, that it means JOBS. Says Youngkin was frustrated to get back in the Paris Climate Accords. Says, correctly, that Youngkin wants to do NOTHING to combat the climate crisis or to transition to clean energy. (that alone, btw, should be absolutely disqualifying, given that this is an existential issue)
UPDATE 7:48 pm – Question on the absurdly named “right to work.” McAuliffe says it’s not going away, that he’s going to focus on things that will make people’s lives better. Says conservatives Bill Kristol and David Ramadan have endorsed his campaign, because they know he’ll work in a bipartisan way to move Virginia forward and take Virginia to the next level. Youngkin says Democrats are “trying to get rid of ‘right-to-work’,” even after McAuliffe just said the law’s not going to change…because this is a major Youngkin talking point and won’t/can’t give it up. McAuliffe says he’s got a LOT of business support him, as do unions.
UPDATE 7:43 pm – Question on Afghan refugees. Youngkin uses this to bash Joe Biden completely unfairly and absurdly for what happened there. Youngkin is such a dishonest jerk. Youngkin then starts ranting about “open borders” (WTF? this guy’s really losing it). Asks if Afghan refugees have gotten COVID vaccines. Just a bizarre rant. McAuliffe says these people helped the United States and we owe them a responsibility. Says he has a son who’s a Marine captain who served in that region, fighting ISIS. Says he will ALWAYS stand with our military and those who assist our military. Says we were the first state in American to functionally end veteran homelessness. “I love our military and I’m proud of our military here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.” Youngkin then claims more veterans are moving away from Virginia than are moving TO Virginia, again bashes Virginia (if Youngkin hates Virginia so much, why does he want to lead it?)
UPDATE 7:40 pm – Question about how to teach Virginia schoolchildren about racist history. McAuliffe says he banned the Confederate flag from license plates, says we need to teach our full history, says the Confederate statues needed to come down, says he was a leader on voting rights, all about lifting people up, raising the minimum wage to $15/hour and treat people with dignity and respect. Youngkin says teaching children about racism in schools “is a real challenge,” says we need to teach our children “real history,” to have “dreams,” not to “view everything through the lens of race” (that’s a massively false framing, of course…utter bullshit). Youngkin then lies about McAuliffe supposedly watering down educational standards. McAuliffe says Youngkin knows NOTHING about Virginia, that “you’re attacking your own Republican Party, Glenn,” that the Republican-controlled Senate passed Terry’s plan UNANIMOUSLY.
UPDATE 7:37 pm – Question on affordable housing in wealthy neighborhoods. McAuliffe says you work with localities, make it easier for people to build affordable housing, also incentivize developers to build affordable housing. Youngkin says it’s up to local authorities, goes back to standard right-wing talking points about “regulations” and says “we need more supply.”
UPDATE 7:34 pm – Question on evictions. Youngkin says there’s a good legal framework in place. Again talks down Virginia’s economy. Says the best way to help people with their rent is “to get ’em jobs.” Falsely claims Virginia’s economy is stalled, that there are supposedly “job-killing regulations,” that he’ll protect the Orwellian-named “right-to-work” (actually “right to screw over unions”). McAuliffe says Youngkin keeps running down our economy, which is 100% accurate. Says that at Carlyle, he was involved with a company that did unnecessary dental procedures on children FOR PROFIT. Also hurt seniors. Youngkin says he’s “proud of Carlyle,” despite his abysmal record there.
UPDATE 7:30 pm – Question on protections for transgender students. McAuliffe says he just doesn’t understand why people want to demonize children. Says he wants EVERYONE to get a great-quality education. Says he has a REAL education plan, says the WaPo and other papers have ridiculed Youngkin’s economic plan, that it would seriously harm education. Youngkin says we’re called to love everyone, but doesn’t explain his party’s noxious views towards transgender kids. Then rants about “sexually explicit material in the library.” McAuliffe says this shows how clueless Youngkin is, that he doesn’t understand the laws work. Says he doesn’t think parents should be telling schools what to teach. Says Youngkin keeps running down teachers, who are heroes.
UPDATE 7:26 pm – Chuck Todd asks about “election integrity,” asks Youngkin why he’s focused on that when it’s not a serious problem in Virginia. Youngkin goes back to the 2000 election, in a classic case of “whataboutism,” saying McAuliffe never accepted the result of the Bush vs. Gore election. Whatever. Youngkin then badmouths Virginia’s economy yet again. McAuliffe says “election integrity” is all that Youngkin had on his website for 7 months, that Youngkin actually said this was the MOST important issue facing Virginians, that he’s a total wannabe/tinfoil-hat Donald Trump. Youngkin’s been endorsed by Trump four times. McAuliffe says he plays this game where he goes on right-wing radio, spews out his far-right views, then comes to NoVA and falsely claims to be a moderate. Youngkin claims McAuliffe is running against Youngkin, falsely claims the polls show Youngkin ahead (absolutely not true – see here for all the polls so far in this race).
UPDATE 7:23 pm – Godawful question using right-wing framing about the need for “tax relief.” Blech. McAuliffe says that Youngkin’s tax scheme would decimate Virginia’s budget, mentions Youngkin’s agricultural exemption for keeping horses, “chiseling Fairfax County” for the “fancy horses in your backyard.” Youngkin claims Virginia’s surplus was generated by “overtaxing” Virginians, which sounds very much like Youngkin’s top economics advisor, Stephen “Trumponomics” Moore. McAuliffe says, correctly, that Youngkin has no idea what he’s talking about. McAuliffe says Youngkin is against gay marriage, wants to ban abortion, will have no ability to bring jobs here, that we need to be an open-and-welcoming state.
UPDATE 7:19 pm – Topic changes to abortion. Youngkin says he supports a “pain threshold” bill, falsely claims that McAuliffe is extreme, then proceeds to WILDLY distort what Gov. Northam said on WTOP. McAuliffe says there’s not a thing Glenn Youngkin just said that’s true. What Youngkin did was get caught on tape saying he wouldn’t tell voters what he really believes, which is to defund Planned Parenthood, crack down on abortions, etc. McAuliffe says he was a brick wall against Republicans trying to outlaw abortions. Says businesses are not going to come to a state that discriminates against women. Youngkin accuses McAuliffe yet again, falsely, of lying, which McAuliffe correctly says Youngkin’s been doing all night. Youngkin getting more and more shrill, claims Virginia’s economy is “dying.” McAuliffe says he supports the laws we have on the books today regarding abortions, would like to see Roe v Wade enshrined in the constitution, because he’s scared of people like Trump and Youngkin, that men shouldn’t be telling women what to do with their bodies.
UPDATE 7:15 pm – Youngkin resumes, talking about crime. Claims the murder rate has hit an “all-time high,” which of course ignores the fact, from the FBI’s data released today, that murder soared when DONALD TRUMP WAS PRESIDENT! Youngkin goes off on the parole board, claiming it is more concerned with protecting criminals than victims. McAuliffe says Virginia had the lowest crime rate of any major state in American when he was governor. Said he leaned in, worked in a bipartisan way to get the toughest domestic violence law in America. Cites the WaPo, which said that Youngkin’s economic plan would defund the police in Virginia. McAuliffe says it’s called QUALIFIED immunity for a reason, the point of which is that if an officer breaks the law, they’re not protected, but if they do what they’re supposed to, then they’re protected.
UPDATE 7:12 pm – It seems that Princess Blanding is interrupting the debate. Crazy. Chuck Todd calls for security and takes a break.
UPDATE 7:10 pm – McAuliffe says that as governor, he invested in law enforcement and Virginia had the lowest crime rate of any state in America. Says we have to keep guns off the street, and that Youngkin doesn’t agree with that at all. Says Youngkin will roll back all commonsense gun safety protections, which will lead criminals to get guns. “He is too dangerous to be governor.”
UPDATE 7:08 pm – Youngkin says he thinks everyone should get the vaccine, but “I don’t think we should mandate it.” Claims McAuliffe wants to “make your life difficult,” have employers fire employees who don’t get the vaccine. McAuliffe says Youngkin has been lying, that he goes on right-wing radio and does right-wing rallies and tells them if they don’t want to be vaccinated then don’t. Says we need LEADERSHIP as governor, not try to be a Trump wannabe. Says Youngkin says one thing on far-right radio, then comes here and says another thing. Says Youngkin will send a child to a school where people are not wearing masks, and that is DISQUALIFYING. Which is true. Youngkin claims, falsely, that McAuliffe changed his views on this for political expediency. Asked if he thinks getting vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella is a personal choice for Virginians, Youngkin gives a b.s. answer about those vaccines being mandatory, but not the COVID-19 vaccine. That makes ZERO sense.
UPDATE 7:04 pm – Terry McAuliffe says that as governor, he worked in a bipartisan manner and was very successful. Says he has 20 “very serious plans” about how to get Virginia out of the COVID pandemic, improve education, etc. Says he’s running against a candidate who’s been spreading anti-vax rhetoric. Says Youngkin goes on right-wing radio and says, “you know what, don’t take it” and “there are many good reasons why you don’t have to get vaccinated.” Also Youngkin said he doesn’t even think nurses working in cancer facilities need to be vaccinated.
UPDATE 7:03 pm – Glenn Youngkin asks Virginians to “hire me,” then launches into a series of lies and distortions about how supposedly horrible things are going in Virginia. Pledges to cut taxes, mentions charter schools, funding police, etc. Claims (falsely) that McAuliffe will “say untruths” tonight, claims (falsely) that McAuliffe is “extreme,” blah blah blah. It’s almost unlistenable, really. Youngkin calls McAuliffe’s plans “so-called plans”; this from a guy who basically has no plans.
UPDATE 7:02 pm – Moderator Chuck Todd lays down the rules, introduces the panelists (Julie Carey and Alberto Pimienta) and the two candidates.