Clinton: 'Governor Deeds' is 'the best choice'
Former president and Democratic celebrity Bill Clinton dropped into Virginia today to fire up the ground troops for Creigh Deeds, who is racing to catch up to Republican Robert F. McDonnell with just 14 days to go until Election Day.
Clinton spoke to about 300 supporters and a bank of TV cameras crowded into his friend Terry McAuliffe's old campaign headquarters in Tysons Corner. With McAuliffe and Deeds at his side, the former president praised Deeds's plans to create jobs, improve access to college, protect education funding and find new money to fix Virginia roads.
"Senator Deeds -- Governor Deeds. It sounds pretty good, huh?" Clinton said.
The room was filled with local elected officials and party organizers, many of whom expressed private doubts about Deeds's ability to overcome McDonnell's lead. But supporters greeted Clinton, McAuliffe and Deeds with excitement and cheers -- and they delivered laughter at all the right moments.
"I tried to help Terry McAuliffe beat Creigh Deeds, and we failed," Clinton said. "But I respect people who win and win fair and square. And I'm a lifetime Democrat and I like this guy. I like Creigh Deeds. I like the way he handled himself in the primary. I like the way he's handling himself in the general election. I believe he would be the best choice for the commonwealth of Virginia."
McAuliffe had a few laugh lines too, as well as an adoring introduction for Clinton.
"Let me say first that it is great to be back at my old headquarters. Not the way I thought I'd be back, but I am honored to be back with all of you today."
"When Creigh is elected governor, he is going to fight for the things we care about ... He's going to make sure we turn chicken waste into energy products."
McAuliffe also acknowledged Deeds's position behind McDonnell, but predicted that Election Night will bring the "greatest comeback in the history of American politics."
"Let me tell you, from a man who knows from experience: Don't pay any attention to the polls. Only one poll matters, and that's on Nov. 3."
As the governor of Arkansas for 12 years, Clinton said he knows more than most how important the job is to do all those things. But he also said that Democrats must mobilize and turn out voters if they are to overcome poll numbers that have McDonnell ahead.
"Make sure that the electorate that shows up at the polls understands, that the people in Northern Virginia and in the southern part of the state and Tidewater and every region in the state understand what they have riding on this election," Clinton said. "It's jobs, and it's energy, and it's education, and it's health care, and it's having a sensible budget and it's not being in denial. Don't you let this election be determined by the denial strategy of people who only trigger the fear factor because the others were too busy to go vote."
October 20, 2009; 3:43 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Terry McAuliffe
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