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McAuliffe Blasts McDonnell

Anita Kumar

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe criticized Republican nominee Robert F. McDonnell today McAuliffe for standing by silently while his surrogate Mike Huckabee encouraged Republicans to keep voters from the poll on Election Day.

Huckabee, former governor of Arkanses and presidential candidate in 2008, jokingly told supporters at a McDonnell campaign rally this week: "You have two jobs. One, get all those people who are going to vote for Bob out to the polls and vote. If they're not going to vote for Bob, you have another job. Let the air out of their tires and do not let them out of their driveway on Election Day. Keep 'em home. Do the Lord's work, my friend. I'm giving you an opportunity...yes, do the right thing." Members of the audience laughed.

McAuliffe told reporters that as chairman of the Democratic National Committee he started the Voting Rights Institute, designed to highlight the importance of voting rights and point out flaws in they voting systems across the country.

"Let's be clear: there are no jokes to be made about denying people the right to vote in this country,'' he said. "It's not a laughing matter. This is a right that people fought and died for, so as public figures, we must be sure that we are setting the standard."

McDonnell and Huckabee campaigned together at three events in Roanoke, Bristol and Virginia Beach this week.

"Virginians are losing their jobs, unemployment is at its highest point in 17 years, and Chairman McAuliffe spends his afternoon feigning outrage over a lighthearted political joke by somebody not even running for office in Virginia,'' said Tucker Martin, McDonnell's spokesman. "This attack demonstrates a complete lack of perspective and seriousness. Chairman McAuliffe clearly has no clue what Virginians are going through, and how tough times are. That's not surprising, as Chairman McAuliffe is a career hyper-partisan and Clinton fundraiser who has spent decades blindly attacking Republicans."

In January, U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) came under fire, mostly from Republicans, for jokingly urging fellow Democrats at a recent political event to give Republicans the wrong date for the Feb. 3 special election for Fairfax County chairman.

By Anita Kumar  |  April 2, 2009; 3:53 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Terry McAuliffe  
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Of course, McAuliffe had nothing to say when Boss Connolly made a similar joke a few weeks ago. What a partisan surprise.

Posted by: steveincville | April 2, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

It's always funny when a minister jokes about "the Lord's work" and confuses that work with partisan politics.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Posted by: chrisduckworth | April 2, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I am very sad that the Lord's name is used so lightly. It is even more sad that in the World's most educated and prosperous democracy which attempts to stuff democracy down the throats of the unwilling the world over, a former Presidential candidate and one of the leaders of a national party that has ruled the land for the most years calls upon self respecting Virginia voters to commit crimes that could land them in jail! I wonder if it is a misdemeanor, or felony to let air out of people's tires and if some one did that to 1,000 cars and then called the police and confessed to have done that at the published instance of Mike Huckabee, would he be prosecuted as an accessory before the fact? As the instigator of the crime? I am not a lawyer,and so do not have the answer, and I hope no one has the intention of doing anything so criminal as what Mike Huckabee recommends.... not only because that is childish and not Virginia (or even American) politics, but also because one of those persons who's car tire is flat may have a medical or other emergency and not be able to drive. Just imagine the consequential damages that all the lawyers will be able to sue Mike Huckabee for!

I am so glad the Republicans had the wisdom to have Huckabee out of the race so quickly, I only wonder on the wisdom of McDonnell to have Huckabee as his campaign supporter running lose and wild in Virginia. Memory appears to be short - Virginia is a very honorable and high dignity state where one wrong word and arrogance drove a senator into oblivion only two years ago...

Perhaps that is where McDonnell is headed to. Unless he speaks up against the "joke" and Huckabee issues a disclaimer that his directive should not be taken seriously.

And, what about our houses of worship? Does no one have a comment to make that this is not the work of any "Lord" that we know of? Perhaps Huckabee has another Lord of his own who appreciates work of this dishonorable nature - I believe that position carries a different name.

Posted by: alankrishnan | April 2, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Shame on the Washington Post -- this type of reporting--which legitimizes stories and political stunts that have no business being legitimized--is why some refer to this paper and its reporting as the Washington Compost.

First, Governor Huckabee does not say "Northern Virginia." He says "beltway." Just for the record.

Second, if this reporter had even followed election 2008, she would know this was a standard joke Governor Huckabee used on the stump. I doubt this reporter did her homework on this subject.

Third, Will the Washington Post call out any Democrat candidate who ever jokes about "voting early and voting often?" especially given the fact that organizations affiliated with Democrats such as ACORN have engaged in actual and proven voter fraud?

Fourth, DPVA executive director Levar Stoney was involved in something called "Operation Elephant" in Wisconsin which involved people actually slashing (not letting the airs out of) but actual slashing (like with sharp objects, like knives) of tires of prospective voters. Will Mr. McAuliffe and the Democrat candidates denounce Mr. Stoney for suppressing the precious rights of all citizens to cast ballots? I too received journalism training from some of the best old school journalist around. If i had submitted such a story I would be soundly rebuked. Publishing this story says a lot about the type of reporting at the Post and the quality of its editors (if any true editors are still around these days)--and, perhaps, the quality of its reporters.

Will the Washington Post and its reporters stop assuming its readers are dumb and report all sides of a given story? Perhaps then the Post will not have to commingle the Business section in section A of its paper. Further, If messrs. Moran, Deeds, or McAuliffe ever joke about "voting early and voting often" I expect a post on this blog accusing them of trying to illegally stuff ballot boxes. I live in Northern Virginia but I think I have downstate values. I love the diversity here -- from abroad and from within the United States. However, the political stunts and shenanigans of folks like Mr. McAuliffe and Mr. Stoney, to me, is the kind of beltway politics that all Virginians will not tolerate and are sick of.

Posted by: VirginiaTony | April 3, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Wanted to echo the above comment: If someone said "vote early and vote often" and a candidate feigned outrage over what is widely known as a joke, would the Post, most likely having a slow news day or due to a lazy reporter who does her reporting by surfing candidates webpages and getting spoon-fed press releases instead of thinking and doing some gumshoe reporting work, post this press-release as a "news story" saying Candidate X BLASTS Candidate Y for threatening to hijack the election by telling his supporters to "Vote early, Vote often." This is, in essence, what this story amounts to. Don't you guys have editors who weed out ridiculous stories like this?

Posted by: VARules | April 3, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Virginia Tony,

I hope you can back up your assertions regarding Mr. Stoney. I just gave him a call to tell him someone is spreading allegations.

Am I missing something or are you guys just purposefully disregarding what "vote often and vote early" clearly means? It means a) we should allow voters who do not have very much leniency in their work schedules to vote early and b) as Democrats, we should go to polls each election [i.e. "often" as opposed to..."seldom"]. It has nothing to do with some "joke"; I can't see how it could even be misinterpreted. Great job.

Anyone saying that the story is ridiculous must be a Republican sympathizer. I think we should diminish the influence of people like Chucklebee or anyone that pals around with Palin. McDonnell clearly doesn't mind the association which will only paint him as another neocon that will ingratiate the Commonwealth with a leadership style like Allen or Gilmore [i.e. we can kiss infrastructure and jobs goodbye].

Posted by: robsmithiii | April 3, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

"Vote early and often" is NOT equal to "Vote early and many times in the same election, for the same candidate". Our Election system has a process which prevents voting more than once at the same election for the same candidate or office. If it does not, that is a failure of the system, not of the voters, or candidates.

The objectionable statement is what we are talking about and it does not matter who made it - it is always objectionable. Let us follow value based politics, not personality driven values.

Posted by: alankrishnan | April 3, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Vote early/vote often refers to corruption in Chicago where the Daley machine and its alderman stuffed ballot boxes with pets and dead people:

Re: Stoney, what say you sir? Is this in line with your values based politics? I hope the constraints in the system or law that prevent tires from being slashed and prevent people from lying to investigators -- and later tacitly admitting the lies--work as well in Virginia.

Posted by: VirginiaTony | April 3, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse


1) Please do not assume things about people: I am an independent who has voted for candidates from both parties. I just call out what is grossly a ridiculous political stunt. For your elucidation, 1) see post on "vote early, vote often." 2) Huckabee is not a neocon--learn what the word really means (trace it back to Irving Kristol) before writing about stuff you clearly do not know anything about. These "neocons" are the folks who clearly did not like Huckabee's candidacy during the 2008 Republican primary. Stringing together sentences with DailyKos buzz words and traffic drivers like "Palin" and "Neocon" does not a smart post make.

Posted by: VirginiaTony | April 3, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

While we're on the topic of semantics, "does not a smart post make" is an example of incorrect usage for modern English standards. I really hate to point that out; your claims that I "write stuff [I] clearly do not know anything about" left me little choice, however. I'm sorry.

A neocon to me [and many others who have studied its translation] is a far-right American politician who legitimizes preemption in the international realm and defers to social conservatism in domestic affairs. If I am mistaken that Palin and Huckabee disagree with preemption, then please point out where I am wrong! From what I could gather, they aligned with Bush very well before ditching the ideology for political expediency, only to pick it back up again. What both of them are saying now in the public sphere reasonably differs from what they said during the campaign.

Regarding Stoney, he testified against the tire slashers. He was not indicted of tire slashing or even named in suspicion. The case you cite does not even mention him as a defendant. I couldn't imagine him condoning political vandalism; if it were true, then of course I wouldn't hold him in any warm regard. That he was a co-conspirator is simply not the case. Your language doesn't identify his role at all and simply centers on the act of tire slashing, which might be misleading for a lot of folks who are skimming the posts.

Posted by: robsmithiii | April 3, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Take it from an Arkansan, Huckabee uses his humor to spread his caveman message to his fellow cavemen in a manner that appears socially acceptable. If a few dozen radical Christian Conservatives take him seriously, he can swear he had nothing to do with it. It was a only joke. They were just a few lunatics acting on their own. Yeah right. Just like you dragging our state back into the dark ages, that was a only a joke too hmmm???

Posted by: jule1 | April 3, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Neocons are Wall-Street conservatives--socially more liberal and more hawkish on foreign policy.

More on Stoney and McAuliffe

He knew about it. He Lied about it. That's Wrong. And unacceptable. McAuliffe wants to bring up tires? Have him resign first.

Posted by: VirginiaTony | April 4, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

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