Kaine Can't Confirm Obama Visit to Help Deeds Campaign
Gov. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said today that President Obama's support is crucial for Democrat Creigh Deeds to win the Virginia governor's race, but said he could not confirm that Obama would return to the state to campaign.
"The way to win is to energize the huge upsurge of Obama '08 voters,'' Kaine said. "We registered an awful lot of people and we got a lot of them to turn out...We've got to have folks that care passionately about the president and care passionately about Creigh."
So is the president coming?
"I can't say one way or another,'' he said.
But Kaine denies recent news reports that Obama and the White House are distancing themselves from Deeds.
"Obviously the White House is very focused on this,'' Kaine said. "What we are doing at the DNC, ramping up our involvement is definitely in consultation with the White House. They're very focused and every week they're making decision about where to spend time. With the vice president here today and with the addiational resorces from the DNC, the White House is very engaged in this race. They're highly involved, highly engaged and it's not just dollars. We're helping in a lot of ways too."
Kaine said the White House is very interested in helping Deeds defeat Republican Bob McDonnell.
"They want a good partner in Virginia. They know with Creigh they are going to have a very good partner,'' he said. "Bob McDonnell is a guy who said the president didn't even deserve an honorary degree from Notre Dame...I don't think the White House has any doubt about who's going to be a good partner."
Kaine, who said he regretted running a negative ad in his 2005 campaign, reiterated that Deeds need to make his case to voters. He said the race has grown tighter because Deeds was able to contrast himself to McDonnell through social issues, his graduate school thesis and his legislative record. But now he needs to move onto issues, such as education, the governor said.
"I think the race is close because of concerns about Bob but I think Creigh making the sale -- saying look I've been the guy protecting education funding, you're not going to see me taking $500 million out of K-12 and higher ed for transportation -- those are issues are very important here in the last month."
Kaine, who said he talks to Deeds three to four times a week, said Deeds has narrowed McDonnell's lead but still has not gotten to where he needs to be.
"We're all aware that we haven't closed the gap yet,'' he said. "We have a sense of the way to do that is again Creigh's strong advocacy for education, his focus on college affordability. These are values that he has fought for that are very true to who he is."
October 8, 2009; 1:25 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine
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