GOP Vows To Make Felons a Big Issue
Republican presidential nominee John McCain's campaign is stepping up the pressure on Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and Democrat Barack Obama over Kaine's decision to restore voting rights for about 3,000 felons since he took office.
In a conference call with Virginia reporters today, former Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore and former governor George Allen accused Kaine and Obama of engaging in a "conspiracy" to put more felons on the voting rolls.
The McCain campaign noted that one man who had his rights restored by Kaine in 2006 has a prior conviction for sexual battery.
"How many additional murders, rapists and drug dealers have been added to the rolls?" Kilgore asked. "We need to know that."
The McCain campaign also released a video in which Penny Blue appears on a television station in Southside in June and instructs felons how they can apply to Kaine to have their voting rights restored. Blue identifies herself as an Obama "coordinator." She was also an Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention. But the Obama campaign said Thursday she is not on its payroll and was speaking on her own behalf.
Clark Stevens, an Obama spokesman, was unavailable for comment today. On Thursday, Obama spokesman Kevin Griffis said the attacks by the McCain campaign "is one reason so many people are leaving his candidacy." Delacey Skinner, a Kaine spokeswoman, accused the McCain campaign of "desperation."
But Trey Walker, McCain's Mid-Atlantic regional campaign manager, said the attacks over the felons issue will continue.
"We are going to continue to inform the voters of Virginia of what Governor Kaine and the Obama campaign have perpetrated in Virginia," Walker said.
On the conference call, a reporter asked Walker and Kilgore if they were "playing the race card." Walker responded they "are just bringing the facts."
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