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GOP Vows To Make Felons a Big Issue

Tim Craig

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."

By Tim Craig  |  October 24, 2008; 12:43 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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So the GOP is fighting to keep citizens from voting?

Posted by: chrisduckworth | October 24, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

This is just another example of Republican hypocrisy. The party that claims to be about all things Christian, such as forgiveness and redemption, shows they are anything but.

Posted by: skins001 | October 24, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The Virginia Republicans are trying to blow smoke in your eyes.

They want you to forget about their complete incompetence in running the Commonwealth. They want you to forget about the budget cuts that will affect every middle class citizen in the state, particularly the children, the police, college students and anyone needing health care.

The Virginian Republican leaders want you to forget about their failure to improve transportation. They want you to forget that the solution to the problem was struck down in court. They want you to forget about how they came to Richmond, argued for months and ended up doing nothing.

They just want you to be mad about a handful of non-violent ex-offenders who want to join society again. They want you to blame all your problems on immigrants and taxes so you will forget about their failure to lead in this state.

Posted by: thuff7 | October 25, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Here's a fact, a third of African-American men in Virginia can't vote because of felonies. Four decades after the Civil Rights Act, that is just wrong.

I helped a few felons regain their rights this cycle. Their felonies were mostly drug possession and writing bad checks decades ago.

If drug possession convictions were brought fairly, our current President would be ineligible to vote in Virginia.

In addition, almost all states besides Virginia, Kentucky excluded, have more forgiving policies regarding voter rights restoration. Virginia is disastrously outside the norm and it is a shame to the Commonwealth.

Kilgore and Allen are ignorant jerks.

Posted by: creweeny | October 25, 2008 1:42 AM | Report abuse

The choice is easy.

Don't vote for people who try to scare you into following them. They have no good ideas.

Don't vote for people who want to suppress voting. They are ant-democracy.

Don't vote people into the government that hate the government. They will intentionally harm the institution.

Lets build schools instead of prisons and the felon voting problem will evaporate.

Posted by: kabrady | October 25, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

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