UPDATED: Gaffe or No, McDonnell Puts Johnson in Ad
Here's how much Republican Bob McDonnell thinks of calls for him to distance himself from businesswoman Sheila Johnson, after video surfaced of Johnson mocking opponent Deeds' speaking style: McDonnell's latest campaign ad features Johnson.
In the spot, airing as of this morning on Northern Virginia television, the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television and prominent supporter of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine looks straight into the camera and says, "I'm Sheila Johnson, a Democrat business woman. I know what it takes to start and grow successful businesses and create jobs. That's why I support Bob McDonnell for governor."
She goes on to list some of McDonnell's resume before concluding, "That's why this Democrat strongly supports Bob McDonnell for governor."
Johnson apologized for her comments at a McDonnell event in which she adopted a faux stutter in mocking the way Deeds speaks. Her joke drew condemnation from the National Stuttering Association and others in the disability community and the Deeds campaign had called on McDonnell to apologize as well.
UPDATE: Here's the ad video:
He declined. And he clearly believes the power of Johnson's endorsement, as a business leader and prominent Democrat who has crossed party lines to back him, has not been undercut by her gaffe. In a campaign in which McDonnell's support for women has been questioned and Deeds has had trouble igniting support in the black community, that Johnson is a black woman is also a boost for McDonnell.
This ad has not yet been formally released--when it is, we'll bring you video. It also seems likely the Deeds campaign will have something to say about the spot.
UPDATE: Response from the Deeds campaign has arrived. Interestingly, it does not address whether using Johnson, post-stutter video, was appropriate. Deeds spokesman Jared Leopold said voter's will be "more concerned about Bob McDonnell's endorsement of George Bush's economic policies, a social agenda that tolerates discrimination, and his dead on arrival transportation plan that takes $5.4 billion from education and other core priorities."
"Virginians who pick their Governor based on issues and solid record have a clear choice in this election between moving Virginia forward in a bipartisan manner or taking us backwards with a divisive social agenda," he said, noting that Deeds has been endorsed by retired Republican senators John Chichester, Sen. Russ Potts and former Republican Gov. Linwood Holton.
October 15, 2009; 9:10 AM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman
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