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Live Blog: WJLA/Politico Special

Rosalind Helderman

Good evening! We're sitting down to watch tonight's WJLA/Politico news special on the governor's race. We're betting many of our readers are doing the same. So join us as we share thoughts and observations live during the special.

This is not airing live and it's not a debate, so there's unlikely to be a lot of unpredictable going on and there will be no back and forth between the candidates. Still, this is an uninterrupted hour on prime time television. So it's certainly worth a watch.

We'll get going momentarily.

9:00 p.m.: Looks like this special is over. Did you watch? What did you think? Let us know in the comments section.

8:58 p.m.: D'oh! Bob McDonnell got about 30 seconds of this special. But his ads were all over it, so it feels like he was hanging around. (Paging Common Sense Virginia -- your ads are on all the time in Northern Virginia. But you bought no time during this special? Really?)

8:54 p.m.: Moran just gave out his cell phone number on statewide TV. Let's all call now! But would we then tie up his line and prevent Barack Obama from getting through to discuss Guantanamo?

8:53 p.m.: Moran continues to hang his hat on his pledge to try to repeal the Marshall-Newman Amendment. If he wins this thing, we're definitely going to be hearing all about this in the fall, we predict.

8:51 p.m.: Moran calls for $1 billion a year for transportation. Asked where that billion would come from, he answers, "any number of sources." He doesn't back off his past plan to raise the sales tax for transportation though, saying it was an issue of leadership to propose it.

8:48 p.m.: These bio pieces are all very friendly to the candidates. They include quotes only from supporters. The footage of Moran on the House floor, for instance, does a nice job making him seem like a player.

8:43 p.m.: We like this kid who asks what's one thing each candidate wants to do in four years and asks them to answer just one thing and not put out a long list disguised as one thing! We feel you, kid! And McAuliffe, who never mentions just one thing, ever, gets it done: Job creator in chief. Moran: puts out a long list of things. And so does Deeds. McAuliffe was clear enough to be remembered. Were Deeds or Moran?

8:41 p.m.: Deeds got a nice long answer in on his plans for higher ed. They sounded specific -- but not sure we heard an answer to the question: should there be caps on the numbers of out-of-state students who can enroll at Virginia schools. Moran's not very clear on that either. McAuliffe is by far the clearest: No -- let's not put caps on those students, since they pay more in tuition. Let's expand the number of slots available for all.

8:36 p.m.: There it was -- for all we know the very first airing of the Deeds ad in Northern Virginia.

8:35 p.m.: Leon Harris notes the Marshall-Newman Amendment passage in 2007. Deeds corrects him and says 2006. Poor Leon Harris. He must be confused. On this one, Deeds has got it right.

8:33 p.m.: It's fun to think about how the personal phone call between Barack Obama and each of these guys would go, as Leon Harris keeps asking. The call between Obama and Deeds: quiet, we're guessing. But Deeds says he'd stand up to Obama and say no to Guantanamo prisoners.

8:31 p.m.: As is his standard line, Deeds says he will not put forward a specific funding plan for transportation before the election. Will voters accept that?

8:29 p.m.: We've heard Deeds say several times that he's not running for dictator. We get what he's saying -- that he can't impose a transportation funding plan, say, a tax increase, on hostile legislators. But really? Dictator? Was there confusion on that?

8:26 p.m.: Oh, hey, we know that guy! Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post, talking about the endorsement. Campaign's gotta be absolutely loving that. Makes up for not identifying Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple or Sen. Dick Saslaw as Northern Virginians.

8:24 p.m.: Up here in NoVa land, we're getting another Terry/Bob ad pairing during this break. Will will see the new Creigh NoVa ad during the special? We're waiting to see.

8:22 p.m.: Deeds: I don't intend to raise taxes. McAuliffe: I don't want to raise anyone taxes. Moran: I'm not proposing any tax increases. But offers a caveat--the state needs to invest in transportation. The GOP will watching that answer closely for the fall, we'd expect.

8:20 p.m.: Harris tells us they get more than 100 questions from virginians. Is that a lot? Aren't there, like, 7 million people in Virginia?

8:18 p.m.: Hmm. McAuliffe corrects WJLA anchor on the date of the Marshall-Newman adoption, saying it was passed by voters in 2007. Actually, not so much. Passed in 2006, just as Harris said.

8:16 p.m.: On Guantanamo Bay, McAuliffe says now he doesn't want inmates brought to jails located in population centers. He suggests perhaps they could go to military bases. Virginia's got plenty of those. So, inmates *could* come to Virginia, as long as they don't come to jails that are smack dabs in the middle of cities, like Alexandria? We'll have to check back with the campaign on that one.

8:14 p.m.: McAuliffe says "nothing should be off the table" in an honest conversation about how to fund transportation and the budget. But he says he disagrees with Moran's suggestion of a hike in the sales tax. So it's off the table? Does that mesh?

8:11 p.m.: Clinton is all over this bio piece for McAulliffe. Right before Ben Tribbett of the Not Larry Sabato blog. Tribbett must be eating that up!

8:09 p.m.: So first commercial break: 1 Bob McDonnell ad, 1 McAuliffe ad. Now we're getting the bio piece on McAuliffe.

8:07 p.m.: Well that's ironic. First ad of the first commercial break: Bob McDonnell

8:06 p.m.: On guns, Brian Moran's answer is pretty much all about why he's opposed to Deeds' position. Afraid of the possibility of a Deeds surge in NoVa, perhaps?

8:04 p.m.: We had thought there might be some introductory material to bring viewers who have not been following the race up to speed. Apparently, we're going to go right to questions. Apparently the special has also been edited together to make it appear as if the candidates are debating. But these interviews were actually taped separately. It feels kind of jerky and a little hard to follow.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 3, 2009; 7:54 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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Next: Another Big Name in the 47th House District


So, uh, Terry McAuliffe looked like Jack Nicholson playing the Joker. Creigh was Creigh.

Moran was calm, detailed, articulate, displayed conviction, gave out his phone number and was . . . gubernatorial.

Reports of his demise . . . greatly exaggerated.

Posted by: jeffersonian1 | June 3, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

By the way "this kid who asks what's *one* thing" is James Kotecki who did a webcast for for about a year during the presidential campaign of '08. His webcasts were entertaining and his question on the broadcast was a valid one, but I think it might have been appropriate to acknowledge the prior relationship.

Posted by: jeffersonian1 | June 4, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

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