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First Click -- Virginia

Rosalind Helderman

Wed., Sept. 2, 2009
Good morning! Here's what's happening in politics across the Commonwealth today.

Will Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell's thesis be an issue that causes his campaign a few bruising days before attention turns to other things? Or will it become part of a narrative about his worldview from now until Nov. 3?

Both campaigns are engaged in classic crisis-management mode at the moment, trying to shape the answer. For McDonnell, that means trying to change the subject -- yesterday by rolling out a plan to send more state education dollars to the classroom -- and relying on women supporters like Sheila Johnson to vouch for him.

For Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, that means looking for ways to keep the story in the news for days. Tuesday it was with Republicans who served in the General Assembly with McDonnell coming forward to say the 1989 master's thesis represents the Bob they knew.

Today, Deeds returns from California to attend events in Alexandria and McLean, the heart of the D.C. television market, where he just might get asked about the issue. No television advertising out yet about the incident, but it's hard to imagine that's not coming soon to a TV near you.

Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner did her part for the cause, and maybe raised her own profile a bit, by penning a blog item for the Huffington Post entitled "I'm a Deeds Woman."

Chris Matthews played Hardball with the topic but seems to still be learning the race, getting Creigh's last name wrong. (It's Deeds, not Davis.)

McDonnell today pushes on with an early morning RV stop at a Rotary Club breakfast in Fredericksburg, but here's another issue for him to be wary about: conservatives unhappy that he is saying he no longer believes some pieces of his thesis.

The Public Policy Poll is out with a new survey on Virginia. We are skeptical of this poll because it uses a computer to call respondents instead of live interviewers. (Read more here.) With that caveat in mind, for what it is worth, PPP showed McDonnell's lead narrowing.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott pushed for Democratic health care changes at a boisterous town hall of 350 in Newport News Tuesday.

Gov. Tim Kaine took on swine flu Tuesday, promising to work closely with regional leaders and the White House to combat the disease's spread.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 2, 2009; 7:15 AM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Next: McDonnell Camp Declines TV Questions on Thesis


No doubt about it. Bob McDonnell has lost the crucial Virginia fornicator vote.


Posted by: MikeLicht | September 2, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Helder-geist - You can keep trying to get exposure over this item but you are not getting the Pulitzer.

Posted by: sandersedward | September 2, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

If the 20 year old thesis doesn't get Deeds elected, it won't be for lack of trying on the part of the Post's campaign contributions masquerading as reporting.

Posted by: scottcpan | September 2, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

So you don't think PPP polls are reliable but you report on it this time, but not last month when Deeds was down by double digits? You are incorrect when you say Deeds was "looking for ways to keep the (thesis) story alive," because the Post is doing that for him. And no details on what Deeds was doing in Nancy Pelosi's backyard or who he was accepting money from out there? Maybe he was attending a meet-and-greet fundraiser that the Post publisher wanted to do. Please report the inkind contribution from the Post at the next filing period.

Posted by: OldVirginian | September 2, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

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