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The Most Important Number in Politics Today


That's the number of words that state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D) utters in his campaign's latest ad -- an endorsement spot by President Barack Obama -- in the Virginia governor's race.

The ad features comments made by Obama during a rally earlier this year for Deeds, casting the Commonwealth's race as an extension of the campaign he ran (and won) in 2008. "I need every one of you to get fired up again so that we can go toward the future with Creigh Deeds leading the great Commonwealth of Virginia," intones Obama.

Deeds appears only twice in the ad -- once in talking to a group of voters and once at the end of the commercial.

Deeds' lack of a speaking role in this ad is in keeping with his campaign's other commercials -- both in the primary and the general election -- in which the Democratic nominee rarely said anything beyond the standard disclaimer of "I'm Creigh Deeds and I approved this message."

Why not? Deeds' advisers clearly believe that he is not his own best messenger in the campaign due to his soft-spoken nature and southern accent, which may not sell all that well in the critical northern Virginia suburbs. (The Fix, for what it's worth, loves southern accents. The Fix in-laws both have a Texas lilt.)

Deeds' approach is similar to the one taken by Republicans in 2005 when former Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, like Deeds far from a charismatic television presence, almost never spoke in his ads as he lost to Gov. Tim Kaine (D).

The risk with keeping your candidate from speaking in his own ads, is that the other side isn't playing by the same rules. That's what's happened in Virginia as Republicans have spliced up a press conference Deeds gave after a mid-September debate and used the Democrat's own words on taxes to make the case that he is a flip-flopper.

(Deeds may have given Republicans even more fodder after last night's debate when he got into a tete a tete with the Associated Press' legendary Bob Lewis -- a member of the Fix's list of best state political reporters -- over where he stands on the public option.)

Deeds' numbers have suffered amid the onslaught of ads. A recent Washington Post poll showed 44 percent of voters thought the Democrat's positions on issues were "too liberal" as compared to 37 percent who said former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell's (R) positions were "too conservative".

The problem for Deeds was summed up nicely by Irene Murphy, a woman in her late 20s who voted for President Barack Obama and Gov. Tim Kaine but was leaning toward former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R) in this election. "With Deeds, I don't feel like I know much about him," Murphy told the Post.

The best (only?) way to remedy that problem is to let Deeds speak to voters via his campaign ads. Is it a risk? Yes. Does Deeds needs to take risks given where he is -- read: behind -- in the polls? Absolutely.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 21, 2009; 1:05 PM ET
Categories:  Most Important Number  
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Virginia Cannot Afford Bob McDonnell Or The Current Republican Delegates!!!

Virginians lost in this last debate, as no one challenged Bob McDonnell and the Republican members of Virginia’s House of Delegates on their political posturing, political antics and hurtful, harmful political games that caused Virginia to leave $125 million in additional unemployment funds on the federal table; thus forcing our Governor to borrow $250 million for the unemployment program in these very difficult times of record setting levels of high unemployment.

Folks really should read the link to understand that Bob and the Republican delegates put partisan political games above the best interests of all of Virginia’s citizens, both employed and unemployed. There was no unfunded mandate for a permanent program; but rather, a $125 million grant to fund a $20 million program that could have been repealed by a GA vote in 2010!!!

Bob McDonnell and the current Republican Delegates have demonstrated that their self-serving views and actions represent a real threat to the stability of Virginia’s economy and the overall wellbeing of all Virginians! One should really ask why Bob McDonnell and the Republican State Delegates and Senators would so willingly throw away $125 million in these really horrific times!!!

Please Virginia! Just say no to the stupid, hurtful, harmful, self-serving, political gamesmanship of the Republicans by voting NO! on Bob McDonnell and the incumbent Republican delegates!!!

Posted by: SamBear | October 22, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Just as a reminder, I don't remember Doug Wilder saying one word in his TV ads when he ran for governor.

Wilder actually went Deeds one better in that there was no picture of Wilder either, that I can recall. The active party in the Wilder ads was a young, stocky, white sheriff, standing next to his police car out in rural Virginia, telling us he supported Wilder because Wilder was tough on crime.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | October 22, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

2 ½ is the most important number

After saying that Fox News isn’t a news organization but an opinion organization Obama met with the likes of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, among other leftist opinion persons, for 2 ½ hours. Probably to give them a pep talk to keep them in the bag for him and his agenda and fighting against the evil Fox. No bias by The Uniter here. No wonder he doesn’t have time to meet with generals or for other things.

Posted by: leapin | October 22, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I think some of the lefties on this board can't tell the difference between personal popularity and policy popularity. People like Obama personally, I even think he seems like a nice guy, but we don't support his policies. The biggest red herring out there is the 'public option' debate. Plenty of the libs will say the public option is supported because they will quote some liberal group polling that shows it, but what they fail to mention is that the public option is not defined to the voters. What is the public option? When you call it what it is, government-option, it loses by 15-20%. But if you want to keep drinking your koolaid, thinking we can spend our way of this debt, taxing the so-called rich, and blame budget shortfalls on accounting errors, while allowing tax cheats like Rangel and Geithner write and enforce our tax laws, and assume there won't be any consequences, keep dreaming. You can visit the unemployment line with Reid, Specter, Dodd, Lincoln, Bennet, and Deeds since none of these idiots in Washington have ever worked in the private sector and actually created jobs before.

Posted by: TexasProud1 | October 22, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I voted for Obama with hope that change will come, but nothing's changed. He throws parties in the White House with celebraties & recording artists while I am barely making ends meet with my husband unemployed and I'm only working part time.

Obama's pretty face and battle hymn of a Democratic Republic is not working for me this time. This Vote is solid McDonnell now.

Posted by: binghe | October 22, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Poor snowglobe has trouble understanding complicated things like parliamentary maneuvers when Rush doesn't explain them to him first.

Posted by: nodebris | October 22, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Do you mean the revolt against spineless Harry today by 13 dems. He said he had the votes. Like all libs he can't count past ten. What will they say when Barry is thrown over for self survival. No one believes anymore.

Can you give us a preview of the lamo excuses you will offer.

Posted by: snowbama | October 21, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

The Uncivil War is approaching, Joe --gotta love it!

Posted by: drindl | October 21, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

@d: A civil war among the teabaggers. Love it.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 21, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

snowmelt, there were six pro-BHO polls. Are they all commies? Gimme a break.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 21, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse


'In a bitter internecine feud that is creating serious divisions in the Tea Party movement, David McKalip -- the Florida doctor and health-care reform foe who got in hot water this summer after forwarding a racist picture showing President Obama as a witch doctor -- appears to have sided with a group run by GOP consultants, rather than with his former grassroots allies.

In an email to fellow members of the Tea Party Patriots, sent yesterday and obtained by TPMmuckraker, Texas-based activist Gerald Merits wrote that he has been "approached by a neurosurgeon very active in the movement in Florida asking for me to get involved with the Tea Party Express because the Tea Party Patriots just don't seem to get it."

Merits was almost certainly referring to McKalip, a St. Petersburg-area neurosurgeon and energetic conservative activist. In the wake of the racist email flap, McKalip pledged to temporarily take a lower profile in the health-care fight, but in recent weeks has re-emerged into the spotlight.

Lately, an acrimonious dispute between the Tea Party Patriots and the Tea Party Express has threatened to weaken the anti-government movement that seemed to have significant momentum earlier this year. Despite its ties to the corporate-backed FreedomWorks lobbying group, the Patriots can make a legitimate claim to being a grassroots movement of ordinary Americans opposed to what they see as high taxes and the growth of government. TPE, by contrast, was created by a team of GOP consultants including noted bamboozler Howard Kaloogian, whose 2006 Republican bid for Congress from California ran aground after he was caught passing off photos of Istanbul as Baghdad, in an effort to argue that war-torn Iraq was safe.

In internal email exchanges and in public comments, proudly independent Patriots have denounced Kaloogian's group as "the Astroturf Express" -- inauthentic Johnny-come-latelys in hoc to the Republican Party, who are trying to capitalize on the grassroots energy unleashed by the Tea Party movement for their own ends. Amy Kremer, a TPP founder and high-profile spokeswoman, was recently removed from the group's board after participating in events with Tea Party Express, whose website now lists her as a leader.'


Posted by: drindl | October 21, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Joe Stalin and mao had similar results from Pravda et al.

Posted by: snowbama | October 21, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Final word on this space's recurring "GOP comeback" dreams. Kos's take: not a chance.

"Republicans trail in virtually every issue in every credible poll, and that's with the South boosting their numbers. Throw geography into the equation, and you realize that yes, the GOP remains a Southern regional rump party, and while their prospects in their home region look pretty darn good, the same can't be said for the rest of America."

If you take the South out of the picture, BHO's approvals are through the roof.",-not-so-much-in-the-rest-of-America

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 21, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

How'd that boycott of beck work out. He gets more eyeballs
in one hour than an entire week of krazy Keith and wretching madcow combined.

Silly libs. No concept of markets whatsoever.

Posted by: snowbama | October 21, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Realtors. 6 percent
headhunters. 25 percent
ambulance chasers. 33 percent
Obama Barry hussain. 39 percent

Posted by: snowbama | October 21, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Is this Kos or Fix. Hard to tell sometimes with the leftist ravers in the house.

All the people who don't pay taxes love obimbo. Go figure.

Posted by: snowbama | October 21, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

It seems BHO's its-not-news pushback against Fox is working. They don't know to react to it. They thought BHO would go rope a dope forever. None of the hatemongers seem to have their usual energy anymore. We are seeing fewer of those fake controversies Fox would crank out once a week. "Mrs." VanSusteren got totally unglued about the whole thing. It's about time BHO exposed Faux News as a 24/7 attack ad featuring assorted bigots and fools. Congrats to 44 and Anita Dunn.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 21, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Wrong, snowman.

From Kos today:

"The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll has Obama with a 57-40 approval rating, which almost mirrors our own Research 2000 55-37 number. Other polls are in similar favorability territory: Fox has it at 55-41, Gallup at 56-40, Quinnipiac at 53-47, NBC/WSJ at 56-33, and so on."

The only outlier is the laughable Rasmussen poll, which nobody pays attention to anymore.

P.S.: to Jake, there's been another long form BHO birth certificate sighting. This time in Newark. Enjoy.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 21, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I was hoping BHO would stay out of the Va. Gov. race. You know if Creigh loses this space and its mothership, Drudge, will claim the loss is a referendum on 44, which isn't true.

As for Creigh not speaking in his ad, doesn't he have to say at the end, "I'm so-and-so and I sponsored this ad"? Anyway, who cares? Evidently, the Post doesn't 'cause they endorsed Creigh.

Kos's take on the Deeds race: Deeds is blowing it.

"Deeds emerged from a contested three-way primary after his two opponents -- Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran -- nuked each other dead. One would assume that his candidacy for the office meant he wanted to run for governor, but his general election campaign has seriously tested that assumption. Listless, invisible, and lacking any energy, he's been far outcampaigned by his Republican opponent, and the polls show a widening deficit. What's worse, Republican voters are far more engaged than Democratic ones.",-Deeds-or-Christie

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 21, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's a referendum on Obama. That's why he's down by over ten points. Were sorry for the November folly. How can we make it up?

Posted by: snowbama | October 21, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

A lot is being made of these elections.. I don't think Governors are important on the national scene.. but I'm just a wingnut.

Posted by: newbeeboy | October 21, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

This ad is very like the one running up here for Corzine except that the Corzine ad is Obama talking at a rally about NJ's public schools and what Corzine's commitment to education has resulted in. You never hear Corzine either, so don't think it is too significant that you don't hear Deeds.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 21, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"Heh, a lot of people like to complain about bias in the media and a left or right slant. Perhaps its not so much a political slant as it is simple incompetence and laziness."

Then I go back and see that WaPo has decided to host a weekly chat on how Republicans can get back to power.

Wow...that's Not a one time thing. A freakin weekly forum.

It just goes to show how incredibly lousy the party is that they are in such a sh*tty position despite such mainstream institutional support.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 21, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

24/7 cable news has definitely settled on a strategy of quantity over quality.

Posted by: nodebris | October 21, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"In the last six weeks 24/7 cable has created three ridiculous non-stories by their infotainment mandate:
Coast Guard gunnery practice as terrorist attack; balloon boy; and fake Chamber of Commerce meeting, all swallowed hook, line, and sinker, all on the air before any checking could be done.

Well, I have been wanting to "vent my spleen" about them. Thanks for indulging me, and carry on, by all means.

Posted by: mark_in_austin"

Heh, a lot of people like to complain about bias in the media and a left or right slant. Perhaps its not so much a political slant as it is simple incompetence and laziness.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 21, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Threadjack warning!

In the last six weeks 24/7 cable has created three ridiculous non-stories by their infotainment mandate:
Coast Guard gunnery practice as terrorist attack; balloon boy; and fake Chamber of Commerce meeting, all swallowed hook, line, and sinker, all on the air before any checking could be done.

Well, I have been wanting to "vent my spleen" about them. Thanks for indulging me, and carry on, by all means.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 21, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Deeds might want to remember what happened in the '01 race. The GOP candidate tried tacking himself to Bush, who was significantly more popular than Obama is now, and it didn't matter. Deeds campaign is a train wreck in slow motion, and all you can do is set there and watch-He's the '09 version of the McCain campaign

Posted by: TexasProud1 | October 21, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

The main thing that matters is turnout in voting.

As we move to all mail in votes, you'll see a lot more of these - people who care about issues will show up at rallies and get mailers, but why waste expensive TV time on words?

Posted by: WillSeattle | October 21, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"I actually like the ad -- until the end when his smug face appears.
Smile for the cameras or do something.

Posted by: vesparado1"

Yeah, he doesn't do solemn well, does he?

I have to say, this seems like a pretty poorly run campaign. Almost as if he wasn't intending on winning the primary.

Kind of surprising. Deeds was pretty good during his acting stint.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 21, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Deeds has a slight speech impediment -- he stutters sometimes. Don't dance around it -- you must know it, CC -- at republican rallies they imitate and cruelly mock him.

" as Republicans have spliced up a press conference" -- yes, the usual low slimy tricks.

Posted by: drindl | October 21, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Why speak for yourself when you can get references like this?

It is, by the way, a warning, from the Prez, that HE can get out and fight for what we need when he heeds to.

The message is that Deeds, or anyone else who gets this treatment, is just a part in a great campaign. For Virginia, and important part, but for the country just another soldier in the Army of Change.

Posted by: ceflynline | October 21, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I actually like the ad -- until the end when his smug face appears.
Smile for the cameras or do something.

Posted by: vesparado1 | October 21, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Right you are, margaretmeyers.

Posted by: nodebris | October 21, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

There's only so much you can do for an uniformed voter like Murphy. There is a big segment of the electorate that lets commercials make up their minds -- it is easier than reading, asking and thinking.

Voted for Obama but will now vote for M c D o n n e l l?
She cannot be paying attention.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 21, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Deeds should speak in his last ads but I see no problem with running an ad of the most popular politician in the country right now (Obama) supporting you. Also Deeds needs black voters to come out in full force for him to beat McDonnell.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 21, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

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