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Cuccinelli Airs New Ad; Shannon, Kaine Protest

Amy Gardner

Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for attorney general, has a new advertisement running across Virginia accusing his Democratic opponent, Steve Shannon, of not helping fix state law to address a Supreme Court decision that could have jeopardized thousands of DUI and drug convictions in Virginia.

The ad is so objectionable to Shannon and other Democrats that he and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine held a conference call with reporters to offer their version of events.

View the ad here:

At issue is a recent Supreme Court ruling in the Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts case that says live testimony is needed to introduce scientific reports in criminal trials. After the ruling, Cuccinelli was the first lawmaker in Virginia to publicly ask Kaine to call a legislative session to address the issue.

Both Shannon and Kaine were among those who sought to fix the issue administratively, without legislative intervention. Shannon went so far as to call Cuccinelli's open letter a "political stunt;" he also expressed concerns about the cost of a legislative session.

Today, Kaine said he and his staff had numerous conversations with Shannon, a former prosecutor, on how to address the Melendez-Diaz case. Cuccinelli's implication that Shannon did nothing is "frankly something that either he or somebody on his team just made up," the governor said.

"Everyone agreed that the preferable way to fix this was to try to fix it administratively," Kaine said. "We concluded that there were many items we could fix administratively and we moved to do that, but there were some items that required legislative action and we did that. We didn't wait. We weren't asleep at the switch. We acted to fix this more quickly than anybody else."

Here's the text of Cuccinelli's ad.

Narrator: It's a study in contrasts and judgment. Ken Cuccinelli earning praise for forcing a change in the law to protect the public. Steve Shannon called it a political stunt, offered no solutions, while DUI and felony drug cases were being thrown out of court. Shannon put politics before public safety. The Fraternal Order of Police said "No" to Steve Shannon. They endorsed Ken Cuccinelli for attorney general.

By Amy Gardner  |  October 12, 2009; 3:08 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , Amy Gardner , Campaign Ads , Election 2009 , Ken Cuccinelli , Steve Shannon  
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So...our choice for AG is between a thoughtful past prosecutor with a real record on the issue and a grandstanding lawyer given to bloviating before he thinks. Cooch didn't even pay attention to the issue--or support any legislative response when Shannon tried to partially resolve the problem in 2007. I'm just a bit mystified that he'd make such a campaign issue out of a point where his legislative record is considerably less accomplished.

Posted by: ViennaBelle | October 12, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

This attempt by Steve Shannon at revisionist history is laughable.

Everyone knows that Senater Cuccinelli was the first to recognize the problems caused by Melendez Diaz and to call for a special
session. It is a fact that Steve Shannon responded by calling it a political stunt.
Governor Kaine, to his credit, agreed with Senater Cuccinelli and called the special session that allowed the problem to be fixed.

Posted by: 11946a | October 12, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

The whole Melendez case tells us a few things. Cuccinelli understands the law, and is willing to work with people to fix problems as they arise. While Kaine and Shannon thought there was an administrative fix and looked for it before Kaine agreed with Cuccinelli, Ken understand from the start that only a change in the law could fix it and successfully pushed for that to happen. While Ken was fixing the law, Shannon was simply calling him a political stunt maker.

Posted by: vasocialconservative | October 12, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse, if Cooch really understood this issue, what bill did he patron before election year grandstanding? The record speaks: Shannon has legislative proof that he been carefully working on this concern alongside Governor Kaine since 2007.

Cuccinelli only woke up to this when he got a call from legal contacts watching the high court last summer--if you read his initial press release, it's a pretty crude and inadequate response that didn't speak to any level of understanding of the issues. Cooch's campaign demeans the intelligence of voters when it purports that cheap points off a press release amounts experience--it's all just bluster.

Posted by: ViennaBelle | October 13, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

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