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Deeds takes heat online over public option comments

Rosalind Helderman

Left-leaning blogs and Democratic twitters are giving Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds a hard time over his comment at Tuesday night's final debate in Salem, indicating that he would consider opting out of a public health insurance option if Congress extended that possibility to the states. Daily Kos has run some items taking Deeds to task over his wishy-washy support for the public option, for instance. That's not to mention Virginia bloggers Ben Tribbett and Lowell Feld.

After the debate, Deeds tried to explain to reporters that he believed the public option might help reduce health care costs and expand coverage, but he is not certain it is the best way to achieve those goals. "It may be one way, it might not be the best way," he said.

(His campaign also circulated a statement today about the issue saying that "if the public option proves to be the best way" to reduce costs and expand coverage, "he'd support having Virginia participate. He'll examine all of the proposals on the table and choose the option than provides Virginians with the most affordable and quality coverage.")

But his attempt to clarify his position has now been turned into a new Republican video that is making the rounds, much like the Fairfax Count post-debate scrum.

And now it appears Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner is embracing the public option more vigorously, at least slightly, than Deeds.

It's hard to know whether the online world will filter into the rest of the world on this issue. But it's clear Deeds needs to energize committed Democrats behind his efforts--and some of them were not at all impressed with his answer on health care.

Just check out some of the tweets.

bencannatti: Why again is President Obama going to Virginia for Creigh Deeds? He just jumped ship on the public option. #vagov

mhabegger: Well, I got to the VA-Gov game late, but Creigh Deeds really sucked. And tonight he said he'd opt out of public option. What a tool.

marklainer: @janehamsher: Creigh Deeds Might Opt Virginia Out Of the Public Option//As much of a turd as McDonnell is, Deeds deserves to lose this race.

Here's what we got from Wagner campaign manager Elisabeth Pearson on the issue:
"As a small business owner and the wife of a doctor, Jody feels very strongly that we must take steps to expand access to health insurance and lower costs for Virginians. If a public option helps to put patients in the driver's seat by accomplishing those two goals--expanded access and lower costs--without raising taxes on Virginians, then she would support it. Frankly, it's disappointing that Bill and Bob are rejecting out of hand a mechanism that could help to provide coverage and lowers cost for families and businesses in Virginia, all while they plan to rob $5.4 billion from education and health care to pay for transportation."

Democratic attorney general candidate Steve Shannon's position, according to his campaign: "I'm against the federal government taking over health care, but at the end of the day if they are talking about expanding the Medicare program so that small businesses and individuals can buy more affordable health care through fair competition with private insurers, I don't think we should rule that out right off the bat. I trust Senators Warner and Webb to get it right."

By Rosalind Helderman  |  October 21, 2009; 7:15 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Deeds is doing what most candidates who are on a slow, painful, downward spiral do - hold their finger to the wind and check to see where the political winds are shifting. And he's confused as to why he's doing so poorly in the polls. We need leadership in Virginia. Wagner supports every tax increase she finds so I am not surprised that she supports the largest tax increase in the nation. Go McDonnell / Bolling!

Posted by: GoNOVA | October 21, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Creigh Deeds is not the candidate that the Democrats of Northern Virginia want. He is a nice man, but not a leader.

Posted by: JohnRice | October 21, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

You people are upset with Creigh becuase he wont support the public option WTH!!! ??? First off, give him a chance to explain his position fully. Secondly, if you dont vote..please dont bi**h about it if Bob wins and trashes VA

Posted by: dexterwilliams | October 21, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

VIRGINAIANS BETTER WAKE UP!!!! If Bob "the smooth talker" wins you'll have more problems than not having a public option. Are you seriuosly going to sit on your rear ends on election day and not vote for Creigh b/c of what he said abt t......he public option?????? What are nutts?? Do you want Bob to run VA??? Come on pple. He's already having trouble in the polls.

Dont make a decision based on "feelings." Thats very dangerous and you'll pay for it for 4 yrs.Read MoreRead More

Posted by: dexterwilliams | October 21, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

I like him, but it looks like he stepped on it again. He should "pull a McCain" and say exactly what he wants to say - even for a tax increase. He won't win, but he may feel better afterwards.

Posted by: gary4books | October 21, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Honestly . . . Creigh Deeds has fumbled his way through this campaign to the point where I expect to hear he endorses Bob McDonnell for Governor.

Posted by: WeThePeopleofVirginia | October 21, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight, Creigh Deeds carries Northern Virginia by an overwhelming majority in the Democratic primary against two Northern Virginia Democrats and somehow he doesn't have the support of Northern Virginia Democrats?

That doesn't make sense.

Posted by: fakevirginia | October 21, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

the people of virginia realize how bad voting for the democrat socialist party can be. Bob McDonnell is the right man for the job.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | October 21, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Honestly . . . Creigh Deeds has fumbled his way through this campaign to the point where I expect to hear he endorses Bob McDonnell for Governor.

Posted by: WeThePeopleofVirginia | October 21, 2009 10:06 PM


Posted by: waterfrontproperty | October 21, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Even by democrat standards, Deeds is an embarrassment. McDonnell by 10+..

Posted by: SMWE357 | October 22, 2009 6:12 AM | Report abuse

Ol' bumblin, stumblin, fumblin Cree..I don't know which is worse, the fact that Dirty Deeds thought a 20 year old thesis was enough to anoint him Governor of Virginia, or the Compost endorsing him based on that alone. Either way, they deserve one another..

Posted by: SMWE357 | October 22, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

"Let me get this straight, Creigh Deeds carries Northern Virginia by an overwhelming majority in the Democratic primary against two Northern Virginia Democrats and somehow he doesn't have the support of Northern Virginia Democrats?"

But the majority wasn't Democrats. It was people who voted.

Dedicated republicans could vote in the Democratic primary for the opponent they wanted to lose in the general election.

Posted by: gemniii | October 22, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Deeds had 3 debates and he has demonstrated that he's not ready for prime time.

He trips again and again over his own words regarding tax on transportation;

He trips over trying to say he's not an Obama Democrat;

He trips again on No Public Option.

He gets so frustrated that his words sounded garbled in the debate. I am not sure that he is ready for prime time. You can't just blame it for lack of toastmaster debate experience.

Posted by: binghe | October 22, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

And Obama's Ad puts the gag order on Deeds and didn't let him say a word.

Attention Deeds staffers, jump ship before it sinks. You don't want a losing campaign on your resume!


Posted by: binghe | October 22, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Virginia Cannot Afford Bob McDonnell Or The Current Republican Delegates!!!

Virginians lost in this last debate, as no one challenged Bob McDonnell and the Republican members of Virginia’s House of Delegates on their political posturing, political antics and hurtful, harmful political games that caused Virginia to leave $125 million in additional unemployment funds on the federal table; thus forcing our Governor to borrow $250 million for the unemployment program in these very difficult times of record setting levels of high unemployment.

Folks really should read the link to understand that Bob and the Republican delegates put partisan political games above the best interests of all of Virginia’s citizens, both employed and unemployed. There was no unfunded mandate for a permanent program; but rather, a $125 million grant to fund a $20 million program that could have been repealed by a GA vote in 2010!!!

Bob McDonnell and the current Republican Delegates have demonstrated that their self-serving views and actions represent a real threat to the stability of Virginia’s economy and the overall wellbeing of all Virginians! One should really ask why Bob McDonnell and the Republican State Delegates and Senators would so willingly throw away $125 million in these really horrific times!!!

Please Virginia! Just say no to the stupid, hurtful, harmful, self-serving, political gamesmanship of the Republicans by voting NO! on Bob McDonnell and the incumbent Republican delegates!!!

Posted by: SamBear | October 22, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

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