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UPDATED: Gaffe or No, McDonnell Puts Johnson in Ad

Rosalind Helderman

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.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  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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Next: Five Va. Governors Sit Down for a Chat

Comments

What's your point leftist water carrying Deeds Compost, you must vote for Dirty Deeds because he stutters? If you don't vote for Dirty Deeds you are bigoted against stutterers the world over? Oh, and you folks sitting in traffic on 66 and 95, remember, it's the stuttering, stupid..

Posted by: SMWE357 | October 15, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

SMWE357, like selling off the booze stores and taking funding away from education and social sevices is going to solve the problem of gridlock on 66 and 95. Pathetic Taliban Bob from the party of NO.

Posted by: union4you | October 15, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Mocking anyone is offensive. Johnson went a couple steps further--she not only mocked, she mocked for a disability, then went on and used that as a starting point for discrimination.

But I'm more offended. The "You are smart enough, you are beautiful enough" language she gave out at the meeting the other day was patronizing (the women near me all got the feeling she was now mocking Senator Al Franken through Stuart Smalley impression). Finally--calling herself a Democrat is disingenuous. She is not a member of the Virginia Democratic Committee.

All Sheila Johnson appears to be is a mean spirited woman with a lot of money. The only advantage she brings to any campaign is the money.

Posted by: ViennaBelle | October 15, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Besides being the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, Sheila Johnson, according to the source cited below, is:

--"a proud mother of two children";

--"a philanthropist who supports the United Negro College Fund (UNCF)" (which is an American organization that fundraises college tuition money for black students and general scholarship funds for 39 private historically black colleges and universities);

--"an accomplished violinist, former music teacher and author of a music textbook"; and

--"a savvy businesswoman."

Source: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1077/is_11_58/ai_106700553/?tag=content;col1

Posted by: VirginianforFreedom | October 15, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

And????

Posted by: union4you | October 15, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

This thing is so over. It reminds me of the line from "Wall Street", Sorry pal, unless you can dig up another thesis, I'm afraid we've got nothing further to talk about..

Posted by: SMWE357 | October 15, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Maybe MIS-Deeds can get Douglas Wilder to endorse him.

Oh that's right, event the first African-America governor hates Deed's stupid guts.

Posted by: LdSentinal | October 15, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Deeds does not suffer from a DISability, he suffers from an INability to articulate a plan because he has no plan. Lofty rhetoric about a commission and tax increases with 0 in details hardly qualifies as a plan. What is truly pathetic is Deeds and WaPo's attempts to conjure up some kind of relationship between Deeds and the truly disabled to attack McDonnell and gain sympathy votes.

Posted by: conservativemaverick | October 15, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Did she just say "Democrat businesswoman"?

Wow, good to know she drank the whole jar of Rush Limbaugh kool-aid when Bob McDonnell promised her he wouldn't stutter or make her pay taxes on her billions of dollars if elected governor.

Posted by: antoniomelias | October 15, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"Did she just say "Democrat businesswoman"?

Wow, good to know she drank the whole jar of Rush Limbaugh kool-aid when Bob McDonnell promised her he wouldn't stutter or make her pay taxes on her billions of dollars if elected governor."

Yes indeed, this moron called herself a "Democrat businesswoman." Her credibility is now below zero.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 15, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

McDonnell might be going for the sympathy votes now. How else would you explain him giving this mental retard Sheila Johnson such a prominent place in his campaign.

Forrest Gump and Rain Man were unavailable.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 15, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Sheila Johnson is a self-made millionaire, so now she's a moron?

At least Sheila can speak the English language, while Deeds is incapable of speaking of speaking one sentence.

"Duh-duh-duh-duh-YOUNG LADY." - Deeds

Posted by: LdSentinal | October 15, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Ld Sentinal, maybe you should educate yourself with Sheila Johnson's background...

She isn't a self-made millionaire, her ex husband was the one who worked BET and earned the family wealth. Since her divorce, Sheila Johnson has managed to lose over 1/3 ($250 million) of her settlement. In fact, all the investments she has undertaken have declined--even before the economy took a downturn.

So, who is Sheila Johnson? A talentless investor with deep pockets. A pretentious, petty woman known for ridiculing people in a mean spirited way. A woman who has no problems lying about party membership and that she has had any measure of business success (maybe she rationalized that by considering divorce court a business environment).

Was that really the best surrogate McDonnell could choose? Or was her money talking so loud that he abandoned common sense?

Posted by: ViennaBelle | October 15, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

To all the democrats posting, does it really matter if this ad is good or bad or Johnson is credible or isn't? McDonnell is putting an ad out that may or may not be a good idea under normal circumstances, but perhaps he's releasing it just because he can. It doesn't matter at this point.

Whining dems, aren't you really just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?

This race is over, congratulations Governor McDonnell!

Posted by: alan8228 | October 15, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

"This race is over, congratulations Governor McDonnell!" -alan8228

I'm so glad you can count imaginary votes in advance! Maybe we can just cancel the election now!!

Posted by: profyle424 | October 16, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, the moment I saw the Sheila Johnson commercial and heard her utter "Democrat businesswoman" I instantly knew--this is NO Democrat, folks, and never has been. Money to our candidates or not, and to think she was mocking Creigh for not speaking perfectly, and she doesn't even know the correct adjective to describe the DemocratIC Party.....pathetic! I have been hearing people complain about her ever since that ad came out....if McDonnell thinks she is earning him DemocratIC votes, he better think again!

Posted by: DouginMountVernon | October 19, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

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