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UPDATED: DNC to Pawlenty: Do You Agree With McDonnell?

Rosalind Helderman

How radioactive would the Democratic National Committee like to make Virginia's Republican candidate? So hot that simply standing next to him will raise the rad count of other Republican politicians.

In a call with reporters today, DNC press secretary Hari Sevugan said that any elected official who campaigns in Virginia is "tainted by Bob McDonnell's extremist positions."

"At the very least, they should be willing and ready to answer whether they agree with Bob McDonnell's far-right positions on women in the workforce, on choice, on contraception, on public education," he said in a call designed to ask Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty to do just that.

The call drew quite a number of press outlets from Minnesota, interested in hearing Donna Cassutt, the associate chair of the state's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (the MN equivalent of the Dems) characterize Pawlenty's trip to Virginia as part of a march to the right. She called McDonnell's views on women "truly shocking and offensive" and slammed Pawlenty for "shelling for a close-minded misogynistic candidate."

McDonnell has said it is offensive to suggest he does not support working women, noting that his wife has worked, as do two of his daughters. His oldest daughter was an Army platoon commander in Iraq. His campaign's top staff includes women, as did his attorney general's office. And he has taken to campaigning surrounded by women in pink McDonnell t-shirts.

But it is clear from the DNC call that Democrats hope to make stick the anti-woman charge, which comes from lines in McDonnell's 1989 graduate school thesis in which McDonnell wrote that women in the work place were detrimental to the family. They note he voted against a 2001 resolution in the House of Delegates that supported equal pay for equal work.

"To suggest that women's struggle for equality in the workplace and equal pay has somehow been a degradation of the American family, I think is out of touch with reality," said Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Richard Cranwell, who was also on the call.

UPDATE: Pawlenty adviser Alex Conant has responded: "This election is about the future of Virginia, yet the Democrats only want to look backwards. Clearly, the Democrats do not want to debate real issues like taxes, energy policy and card check because they have the wrong positions. Governor Pawlenty was in Virginia today because he knows Bob McDonnell will promote the sort of pro-growth policies Virginia and America needs to create new jobs."

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 9, 2009; 3:12 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Next: Dems Ask Opponents to Repudiate McDonnell Thesis; One Does

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