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McAuliffe's Business Background: For and Against

Amy Gardner

Democratic gubernatorial contender Brian Moran wasn't the only one ready to respond to a Washington Post article published today on rival Terry McAuliffe's background mingling business and politics.

At 1:22 a.m., a few hours after the story posted to the Post's web page, Moran spokesman Jesse Ferguson issued a blistering press release highlighting the article's premise that McAuliffe's history of intricate partnerships and investments, often with political associates, could prove to be a liability in the governor's race.

But wait: Flash back to 10:51 p.m. yesterday, less than two hours after the story appeared. That's when Team McAuliffe hit the send button on an extensive dissertation defending his business bio (and circling back nicely to his campaign themes of creating jobs, supporting President Obama and listening to the Virginia grassroots).

If McAuliffe's response appears a bit defensive, it certainly wins the prize for thoroughness and speed. Or maybe awards should go to Creigh Deeds, the third Democrat vying for the nomination June 9, and Republican Bob McDonnell, for tuning out and enjoying a quiet Saturday night.

By Amy Gardner  |  May 3, 2009; 9:58 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner  
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Comments

Amy,
You must be pleased with the volume of comments your article raised. I believe it is very interesting to see what Virginia Voters have to say, we just do not know how many of those are Virginia voters. I volunteer for the McAuliffe campaign and try to respond to every posting on the Governor's race.

Thank you for keeping interest in this race strong, we need to Get Out The Vote June 9th and in November, in order to have the best candidate elected to be our next Governor.

It would be great if you can emphasize the need for those who comment to identify their state of residency, political affiliation, and candidate they support.

Our interest is not in McAuliffe haters who live outside Virginia - they are irrelevant and I believe most of those who commented on your article belong to that category - Out of State Mutual Admiration Society of McAuliffe Haters.

It would be great to hear positives about Moran, Deeds and even McDonnell, on what they have done thus far to claim any past performance credentials for lifting Virginia out of the recession/depression we now suffer from. It would also be great to hear about their plans and programs on what they will do once (if) they are elected Governor. Once they make their promises, they need to substantiate their ability to deliver, and also a plan on how they will go about it.

Thus far, McAuliffe has made two promises - soon after he is sworn as Governor, he will initiate windmills off the coast of Virginia and he will do everything he can do get stimulus funding to build high speed rail between Washington DC and Virginia (Richmond & Hampton Roads). President Obama has set aside $9.2 billion for this purpose, it is not unrealistic to shoot for $1.4 billion for this critical project that will reduce traffic congestion on I-95 and pay for itself very quickly. I believe McAuliffe can and will pull this off, what do the other candidates have to say?

If one takes the trouble to observe the words and websites of the other candidates, it is quite interesting to see how much they attempt to mimic content on the McAuliffe site :)

Yes, it is hard to be a distant second, but one needs to accept competition and attempt to excel, without just crying the grapes are sour.

Yes, Deeds probably has a smart strategy, just letting Moran to mess up his own campaign (which he successfully has done thus far, with abundant help from out of state mutual admiration society of McAuliffe haters), hoping that Moran campaign will sufficiently damage McAuliffe to make Deeds appear a better choice. And, not having directly criticized McAuliffe, Deeds with a clear conscience go seek help from McAuliffe in the future, for this, or any other position.

Posted by: alankrishnan | May 3, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Hey Amy,
Great story on Terry McAulliffe. I heard you were at the Post. This is Mike Houser I worked at the Insider when you were with the N/O. I'm at the Dept of Revenue now as their Legislative Liasion. I look forward to reading more of your stories!! Hope all is well!

Michael Houser

Posted by: housermike | May 3, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

alankrishnan, I have read with interest your strenuous commenting here and elsewhere supporting your preferred candidate, praising his ESP-like investment sense and his golden luck which has nothing, of course, to do with sweetheart insider deals and mutual back-scratching. You have generally come across as a sensible and thoughtful spinner, however misguided. But come on, now... griping about out-of-state critics with the implication that they should shut up and mind their own business while the McAuliffe campaign happily raises the bulk of its contributions out of state is just plain silly.

And I have yet to read an attempt by you to sensibly and thoughtfully spin Terry's association with the odious Swift Boat Veterans for Truth-funding, Columbian terrorist death squad-funding Carl Lindner.

Posted by: passionateVAdemocrat | May 4, 2009 3:29 AM | Report abuse

passionateVAdemocrat

I wrote a very detailed response, which perhaps is too long to post without review and approval by the blog owner, so it did not pop up immediately. I hope it is posted, as I believe there is a lot of value in it. Let us see if Amy agrees.

Posted by: alankrishnan | May 4, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

So it's OK for Terry McAuliffe to take 82% of campaign funds from out of state sources, but no criticism? Puhlease.

The bottom line is the McAuliffe campaign knew a story like this was coming from the moment they did polling before their candidate announced.

McAuliffe has to hope that Virginia's apathetic electorate doesn't read the story, or if they do, they won't care about the questions it raises about his past and his personal ethics and judgment.

Moran has to hope the opposite is true. That people do read the story and that they will vote for him instead of McAuliffe in the primary. I'm not sure why Moran and his campaign needed to promote the story to voters though -- the story speaks for itself. It seems like by promoting it, some of that mud splashes on Moran. Maybe I'm wrong.

My guess is that Deeds and McDonnell played it right. As the Democratic electorate comes closer to decision day, I expect that we may see Deeds close the gap, just as Mine That Bird did yesterday.

Posted by: fakevirginia | May 4, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

fakevirginia

There is no problem with out of state McAuliffe haters to challenge his record, or claims, or what ever. The problem is that when one does not disclose residency, the comment lacks credibility. And, when the allegation lacks substance or detail, it is just a wild allegation.

I believe any one who declares residency, political affiliation and submits valid back up for allegations is credible. Others are not. That is my opinion.

Posted by: alankrishnan | May 4, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

passionateVAdemocrat
Thank you for the guarded compliment of finding my comments sensible and thoughtful. It does mean a lot to me when those who do not support McAuliffe are open and objective. Some corrections:
1. I never praised McAuliffe’s ESP-like investment sense, I do not know if he has one. I just know that every investor wins and loses, the trick is to stay ahead. It is a little better than plain gambling, but we all know that most angel investors and venture capitalists lose more times than they win, but when they win, they win big and so they keep their heads above water.
2. McAuliffe has done more than just invest: As a teenager, he started a driveway paving business, and grew it, and even bought a truck. That certainly shows initiative and hands on management leading to growth and success.
3. Before he was 30, McAuliffe was appointed Chairman of a Federally Chartered Bank, which he turned around and made profitable.
4. With partners he took over a real estate company in Florida that was failing, made money for his partners, both those who stayed and those who left midstream, and he made money for himself.
5. These three are all run of the mill all-American businesses – there is no investment element and in each of them, McAuliffe was the decision maker, he would have paid the price if they had failed. They did not fail; they succeeded, grew and established his credibility.
6. McAuliffe has not taken any bail out money, for any of his businesses, or for his campaign today. Each of his businesses listed above is in very competitive areas, and so there is no buddy network (like big oil) to give him a break.
7. McAuliffe has been in the public eye for many years. He has been public enemy #1 for the Republicans for many years. Does any one think he will have survived if he had anything to hide? If he has anything to hide, the Republics will have found it and pounded him into oblivion when he was Chairman of the DNC as he was giving the Republicans such a hard time, to the point where he was provocative and not exactly pleasant. He could not be cowed down and gave as hard as he received, most times harder because he had more dope on the opposition than they had on him. Of course they made allegations, including on the famous Global Crossing investment.
8. Do you remember what happened to Nextel? Do you recollect who is one of the founders of Nextel, who made his millions with this investment? One of the finest Virginians of all time.

Posted by: alankrishnan | May 4, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

passionateVAdemocrat
Thank you for the guarded compliment of finding my comments sensible and thoughtful. It does mean a lot to me when those who do not support McAuliffe are open and objective. Some corrections:
1. I never praised McAuliffe’s ESP-like investment sense, I do not know if he has one. I just know that every investor wins and loses, the trick is to stay ahead. It is a little better than plain gambling, but we all know that most angel investors and venture capitalists lose more times than they win, but when they win, they win big and so they keep their heads above water.
2. McAuliffe has done more than just invest: As a teenager, he started a driveway paving business, and grew it, and even bought a truck. That certainly shows initiative and hands on management leading to growth and success.
3. Before he was 30, McAuliffe was appointed Chairman of a Federally Chartered Bank, which he turned around and made profitable.
4. With partners he took over a real estate company in Florida that was failing, made money for his partners, both those who stayed and those who left midstream, and he made money for himself.
5. These three are all run of the mill all-American businesses – there is no investment element and in each of them, McAuliffe was the decision maker, he would have paid the price if they had failed. They did not fail; they succeeded, grew and established his credibility.
6. McAuliffe has not taken any bail out money, for any of his businesses, or for his campaign today. Each of his businesses listed above is in very competitive areas, and so there is no buddy network (like big oil) to give him a break.

Posted by: alankrishnan | May 4, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Forgive me for the previous posting of 6 points included in the preceding posting of 8 points! This site has been having some problems and that caused this repetition. My apologies to everyone.

Posted by: alankrishnan | May 4, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

9. So the fact that McAuliffe made his big bucks from Global Crossing investment is not a disqualification. Just like it is not a disqualification that he is lately into Municipal and other Government Bonds – because he was smart enough to get out of other investments that tanked. Does that make him stupid, or does it make him smart?
10. You refer to sweetheart insider deals and mutual back-scratching. Do you know something that the SEC does not know? If McAuliffe is guilty of any insider deals and insider transactions, I am sure the SEC will have thrown the book at him. Don’t you?
11. Misguided I might be in your opinion because I support McAuliffe. You are entitled to your opinion, and I take no offense. I know he is best qualified to pull Virginia out of the depression, that is why I support him.
12. I have no problem with out of state McAuliffe haters criticizing him – I just want you to admit you are not a Virginia resident, declare whom you support, and then be objective in your criticism of McAuliffe. I know some in this category tearing McAuliffe apart in Daily Kos, and I respect their writing because they help prepare McAuliffe for the General Election. It is the infantile comments of those who hate McAuliffe without really supporting Moran or Deeds that I ask readers to ignore, as those comments are not relevant.

Posted by: alankrishnan | May 4, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

13. When the General Elections campaign starts full steam after June 10th, where do you expect bulk of the money to come from? Virginia? Come on, even you should know better. Bob McDonnell already has bulk of his money from outside Virginia and no matter who says what, we all know that in 2009 the only election that is going to be national in stature is that of the Virginia Governor. Democrats and Republicans alike are going to land in Virginia and fight for this office, and my hope is that we Democrats will unite and focus on supporting the candidate most eligible to beat Bob McDonnell, and the candidate most capable and likely to pull Virginia out of the recession.
14. Brian Moran is having a difficult time raising money, and running a half decent campaign. I stopped supporting him once I realized that he has no chance of winning, and his campaign did not portray him having any ability to pull Virginia out of the recession. Craig Deeds is a great person, and I will support him in any other race, but for this race he has already proven that he can not beat Bob McDonnell – he lost by 600 votes in the almost irrelevant race as compared to the importance of the Governor’s race this year.
15. Thus from both the perspective of ability to pull Virginia out of the recession, and from the perspective of who is most qualified and able to beat Bob McDonnell, McAuliffe runs head and shoulders ahead of the other candidates.
16. Let us not cut our nose to spite our face, please.
17. Hey, I am not spokesperson for McAuliffe, and I am not here to defend him against any allegations any one makes against him. He can speak for himself, and he has competent staff to address those issues. I can only speak for myself, and for my belief that McAuliffe is the most qualified candidate in this race to pull Virginia out of the recession, and he is the most capable candidate to beat Bob McDonnell.
18. Need I say more?

Posted by: alankrishnan | May 4, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

alankrishnan, your tactic of overwhelming your opponents with verbosity has worked... I haven't time or energy right now to respond to all of this.

But... what about Carl Lindner? You've adopted a page from the McAuliffe campaign playbook, used already to respond to Mike Stark's challenge in his pathfinding blog diary "Don't Do This, Virginia" -- dance around and spin the scandals in which McAuliffe was not indicted or sued, but completely ignore the most troubling matter of all: one of McAuliffe's business "partners" and current donors helped fund the Swift Boating of a Democratic war hero and led Chiquita when it was funding a right-wing terrorist Columbian paramilitary group. Why would McAuliffe even shake hands with the man? I've shaken hands with Terry but only because I didn't know at the time about his appalling association with Lindner. Yuck.

Excuse me, I have to go wash my hands again...

Posted by: passionateVAdemocrat | May 6, 2009 3:35 AM | Report abuse

I'll speak up as an in-state McAuliffe hater. I've always been a Creigh supporter but I would consider voting for Moran in the primary if it looks like he has a better chance of taking down McAuliffe.

If McAuliffe wins the primary I will think hard about voting for Bob McDonnell in November. I voted against him for AG but he's won my heart with his serious commitment to animal welfare, so he can't be all bad. I'd hate to have McAuliffe as the public face of our state, he's just a creeper. He can claim to be buddies with Obama all he wants, but he's way too slick to be anything like our fine president.

Posted by: andBear | May 9, 2009 2:52 AM | Report abuse

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