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Sights and Sounds from Buena Vista

Anita Kumar

Gov. Tim Kaine enjoyed his eighth stroll down the Buena Vista Labor Day parade route -- the unofficial starting line of the fall campaign trail -- despite some periodic heckling.

Enthusiastic Republicans taunted Kaine, who serves as his party's national chairman, for being a part-time governor and following in lockstep with his friend, President Obama. "Nothing but a Kool-Aid-drinking governor,'' one woman yelled to Kaine as she clutched a "McDonnell for Governor" sign.

Kaine didn't respond to the criticism. Instead, he ditched his state-issued SUV and walked along Magnolia Avenue, shaking hands and greeting local residents who needed no introduction. Occasionally, he climbed into the back of a pickup truck to play harmonica with local bluegrass band (and Creigh Deed supporters) Walker's Run.

(See a gallery of The Post's photos from the parade.)

But after the parade, even Bob McDonnell got into the act of ridiculing the governor for holding two jobs in his speech to a few hundred spectators at a park pavilion. McDonnell, still smarting from Kaine's harsh comments about him last week, said snidely "Governor, thanks for stopping back by in Virginia for just a little bit." (To be fair, Kaine has been around a little more lately.)

This year's crowd was sparser than usual, but still enthusiastic.

Deeds, who wore sneakers, sprinted from sidewalk to sidewalk, shaking hands with residents as sweat soaked through his blue button-down shirt.

"I say backwards, you say Bob,'' a Deeds volunteer shouted to a group of supporters who immediately began chanting. "Backwards Bob!"

Just behind them, a casually dressed McDonnell walked in front of a blue RV bearing a large photo of his family. A campaign volunteer dressed as an elephant shook kids' hands and passed out candy.

McDonnell and Deeds were joined by candidates for lieutenant governor -- Bill Bolling and Jody Wagner -- and attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli and Steve Shannon.

Sen. Mark Warner, a favorite of the Buena Vista crowd, was a no-show because of a scheduling conflict with a family event. Sen. Jim Webb also was not there (though that's not surprising given that he didn't even attend in 2006, the year he was running for office).

After leaving Buena Vista, Kaine and the candidates from both parties traveled 50 miles down the road to Covington for another parade, Later, Deeds and Kaine gathered with hundreds of party faithful at U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott's 32nd annual picnic in Newport News -- a must-do for Democratic hopefuls.

By Anita Kumar  |  September 8, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Election 2010 , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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