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Deeds Bobbles Minimum Wage Question

Rosalind Helderman

Okay, so it couldn't be a perfect day for Creigh Deeds.

Yesterday morning, he snagged some momentum with the endorsement of our colleagues on the editorial board of the Washington Post. But not long after, he had a little flub on the Politics Hour with Mark Plotkin on WTOP that's got the bloggers twittering.

In response to a question about the minimum wage, it sure sounded like Deeds didn't know what the the minimum wage currently is in Virginia. Price of milk anyone?

The exchange came as Plotkin asked Deeds to weigh in on a Brian Moran campaign pledge to tie Virginia's minimum wage to inflation.

"What is the minimum wage in Virginia?" asked Plotkin.

"The minimum wage in Virginia is the same as the federal minimum wage," Deeds responded.

"Which is?" asked Plotkin.

That was followed by an uncomfortable silence.

After a moment or two, Plotkin said, "Ok" and the two moved on. Deeds continued on to say that he believes there should be a living wage in Virginia--something he does not now believe exists--and that he wants the legislature to give localities the ability to adopt local living wage ordinances. If a bill to increase the minimum wage passed, Deeds said that as governor, he'd sign it.

Deeds' spokeswoman Brooke Borkenhagen said afterward that the federal and state wage are now $6.55 but will be rising to $7.25 in July. She said Deeds hesitated because he was not sure whether the rate had yet risen--she noted this will be the third increase in two years.

Still appearing to not have the minimum wage at your fingertips is a good way to get voters wondering if you're out of touch--must like the famous example of the pols who don't know the price of milk.

Plotkin's a tough interrogator though. He's been on a tear lately against Terry McAuliffe, who did not appear last week as scheduled. This week, he said McAuliffe reminded him of "someone Lyndon Baines Johnson famously called 'all hat and no cattle.'"

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 23, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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