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Live Blog: Greensprings Democratic Club--Now Complete

Rosalind Helderman

Greetings from Springfield, where all three men running for the Democratic nomination for governor in Virginia are participating in a forum hosted by the Democratic Club of the Greensprings Retirement Community. We're trying something new here today--a live blog of the forum.

2:13 p.m.: The director of the community just welcomed us, noting that there is a precinct located right here at Greensprings, with the highest turnout of any precinct in Virginia. "Every person you meet here is a registered voter, and every person is going to vote," he said.

2:16 p.m.: The head of the club is now explaining the rules for this forum--each candidate will first speak. Then there will be a question and answer period with questions submitted by the audience. The candidates agreed they will not speak about their opponents or their positions--only themselves.

2:20: McAuliffe's up first. He starts by noting he was in Norfolk with former President Clinton this morning. He says he's been asked why he didn't bring Clinton with him today--jokes the president hadn't been invited. Maybe next time.

2:22: Now McAuliffe is onto the economy--he says he doesn't plan to raise taxes in a down economy but wants to grow the budget by creating new jobs. He's providing his history--first job at 14, long history in business, rebuilding the DNC. "I've been very involved in politics, I've been very involved in politics. Now I want to come in and shake things up," he says.

2:23 p.m.: McAuliffe is on to education. Wants to raise teacher salaries to the national average, improve education for k-3rd grade and improve college affordability. He mentions his program promising to pay off college loans for those who agree to teach in high-needs error.

2:25 p.m.: Now transportation--high speed rail from D.C. to Richmond to Hampton Roads, creating new jobs and getting cars off the road. President Obama has just committed new transportation dollars, he says. "As governor, I want to go get that money."

2:27 p.m.: McAuliffe says he's an outsider who can change things in Richmond. Speaks specifically to this older crowd by reminding people that he was on tv frequently when President Bush proposed privatizing social security. Says if that had happened, Bernie Madoff would have everyone's money.

2:30 p.m.: Concludes with chicken waste, wind farms and reforming energy.

2:32 p.m.: Sen. R. Creigh Deeds takes the podium for his opening remarks. Praises the crowd, noting he's been in front of them several times before and says he's here to make the case he's the best prepared to be governor.

2:33 p.m.: He's talking about the economy and says "I wasn't going to walk away from Virginia's working families during a crisis" to explain why he stayed in the General Assembly this year, even though it meant he could not fundraiser during session.

2:34 p.m.: Says things have mostly improved under Kaine and Warner but one thing that hasn't been great is a disinvestment in higher education. Pledges 70,000 more college degrees in 10 years and better affordability for all.

2:36 p.m.: Community colleges can be used to make education more affordable because they're an hour from everyone. "Remember," he says," I live out in the country. i want to create opportunity for everyone."

Stand by folks. Roz is having some technical difficulties. She should be back on the screen shortly.

We're back for the moment.

2:38: A good way to remind people of his Virginia ties. On energy, says Deeds, "When you read the history of the American Revolution, that's the history of Virginians. When you read the history of the 21st century energy revolution, that should be about Virginia too."

2:42: Next up is transportation. Promises to tackle it in his very first year in office--his transportation program will be longterm, statewide in perspective and creative in nature.

2:43 Moran comes to the microphone. Says he's been here many times and wishes everyone had the turnout of this precinct. If so, Sharon Bulova's race would have been more secure. "That was a little too close," he said.

2:46: Starts by talking about his grandfather, an immigrant from Ireland. What would his grandfather think now, knowing he had a grandson serving in the united states Congress and another running for Virginia's highest office.

2:47 p.m.: Reaches back to last year's election--the nation put behind generations of biases and elected someone based on the content of his character.

2:48 p.m.: Moran grabs the mantle of Roosevelt Democrat--he grew up playing football in a WPA-built stadium. That's probably a good reference for this crowd. "He put people back to work," Moran said. "We don't need stadiums. We need roads and bridges," he says.

2:49 p.m.: Moran gets a laughing chuckle from the crowd recalling how his mother added water to carnation to stretch the milk for him and his six siblings. "That's a taste you never forget."

2:51 p.m.: This life history is very important, says Moran, continuing on about his childhood. "You're big enough to work," his dad said to him when he was young.

2:52 p.m.: Who's known Warner longest? Moran says it was Warner who urged him to run for office originally. "My wife and I joke now if he was a true friend, he would have given us stock tips."

2:53: Moran's on to his line, used before about business plans being about profit and avoiding corporate disasters. This is language that hits at McAuliffe, though Moran stays in the rules by not mentioning his opponent by name.

2:54 p.m.: Moran says Democrats need someone who's worked in the trenches. "I remember when it wasn't cool to be a Democrat."

2:55 p.m.: What makes him different, he says he's asked: his 20 year record, along with his vision.

2:56 p.m.: Moran's plans--indexing the minimum wage. A refundable earned income tax credit. Opposes oil drilling.

2:57 p.m.: Moran's the first to get close to his time--our moderator tells him he has two minutes left. "You're kidding? I just started."

2:58: Opposes the Surry coal plant, wants to raise teacher salaries.

2:59 p.m.: Concludes with his central theme: Fighting spirit, proven leadership, record of accomplishment.

3 p.m.: Our first question: How is Virginia handling the stimulus package and how should it be handled?

3:02 p.m.: Deeds says he's convinced the state is doing the right thing with the money, balancing the budget and preventing generating draconian service cuts. But he warns without new job growth, the next governor will face similar tough choices next year.

3:04 p.m.: Moran says state can't allow the stimulus to fail. Gets a little partisan--remember, he says, Rush Limbaugh wants it to fail.

3:06 p.m.: McAuliffe says the money was needed but a bandaid. Our top trading partners have now become our bankers, as Japan and China buy up our debt. In the future, the state needs its own stimulus package--job creation.

3:06 p.m.: What is your position on closing the gun show loophole?

3:08 p.m.: Moran says he wants to close it.

3:10 p.m.: So does McAuliffe, who then launches in on Bob McDonnell. Whose in-laws apparently live in this community, says the man to my right.

3:12 p.m: Deeds says it will take Democrat like him from a rural area to get this one done.

3:13 p.m.: Question gay marriage, civil unions?

3:15 p.m.: As at previous forums, only Moran pledges to try to repeal Virginia's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. All three say they oppose gay marriage. McAuliffe says he has always supported civil unions.

3:16 p.m.: Now the candidates have been asked about the death penalty. All say the support its use in rare cases. Moran offers a particularly passionate

3:17 p.m.: Fun question for McAuliffe--you haven't previously been interested in running for office in Virginia. You've been rumored to be interested in Florida, New York and Pennsylvania before. Why here? Why now?

3:18 p.m.: McAuliffe laughs. "Pennsylvania is a new one to me," he said. He notes he's lived in Virginia for almost 20 years and raised his family here. "Home is where your kids are," he says. Why now? It's the economy stupid. Okay, he didn't say that. But that's the message. He wants his children to stay in Virginia and for that to happen, there need to be jobs here.

3:19 p.m.: A question for Moran--are you satisfied with no child left behind in Virginia?

3:20 p.m.: He's not satisfied. More resources are needed for tutors and teacher salaries. Talks about how school choice has worked poorly in his own kids district--his kid's school becomes overcrowded and what happens to kids who stay at the other school?

3:22 p.m.: For Deeds: We keep hearing NoVa is the economic engine of the state, but delegates elsewhere don't want to improve our roads. What is to be done?

3:24 p.m.: Deeds notes he's from elsewhere, but he tells crowds NoVa is the bread basket of the state and has way too much traffic. This is what I can bring to the governorship, he says, bringing together the regions.

3:25 p.m.: And we're done. Sorry we didn't get this up live as promised. Maybe one of these guys can work on making remote Internet access more reliable, everywhere in the world. Hopefully you enjoyed it anyhow.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 14, 2009; 4:02 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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