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Deeds, Moran Off to Israel

Tim Craig

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) and state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath), both of whom are running for governor next year, leave this week for a 10-day, expense-paid, trip to Israel.

The trip, designed to bolster economic ties between Israel and Virginia, is sponsored by the Northern Virginia Jewish Community Federation. Annual expense-paid trips to Israel have become a staple for Virginia politicians looking to boost their foreign policy credentials.

Last year, Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, the likely GOP nominee for governor, took a 10-day trip to Israel sponsored by the American-Israel Friendship League.

McDonnell's office billed his trip as being an opportunity for him to learn about Israeli counter terrorism efforts. But some Republicans questioned the timing of McDonnell's adventure because it took place two weeks before last year's state legislative elections.

McDonnell had to explain why his trip to Israeli took precedence over the election when Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) and former Republican senator George Allen, both of whom had been considering a bid for governor, were busy campaigning for GOP legislative candidates.

Deeds and Moran will be back more than a month before the Nov. 4 election. But while they are gone, one of their potential rivals for the Democratic nomination, Terry McAuliffe, will be kicking off a 30-locality tour of Virginia in support of Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.).

Given the potentially close presidential race, there could be big rewards next year for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate who appears to be doing the most to support Obama's efforts this year.

When Deeds and Moran return, look for them to try to quickly match McAuliffe's efforts, which could receive a fair amount of local coverage because he is a former supporter of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY.).

By Tim Craig  |  September 15, 2008; 2:40 PM ET
Categories:  Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Tim Craig  
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The real story about the trip is that Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Jeff Frederick is also on the 10-day trip to Israel.

Start the head scratching, why is the GOP's party leader out of the state with, according to his own website, 48 days until the election, on a 10-day trip paid for by lobbyists. That is just plain not smart.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 17, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

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