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Sheila Johnson on Deeds's Speaking Style

Rosalind Helderman

This video clip of Sheila Johnson, a supporter of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine now backing Republican Bob McDonnell for governor, has been making its way around the Internet, starting on Ben Tribbett's blog.

In the clip, Johnson, who co-founded BET, talks about her feeling that Democrat Creigh Deeds has trouble articulating his views for Virginia and seems to mock his stammering speaking style. Deeds senior adviser Mo Elleithee called Johnson's imitation of the rural senator a "petty personal attack."

Deeds himself said at a campaign stop today that he was "disappointed" in Johnson's comments.

"I'm disappointed and I'll be honest. If it's about being smooth or being a slick communicator, I'm never going to win that discussion. But I work as hard as I can to be honest and forthright and tell people what I think and I'm going to continue to work toward creating opportunity and hope and prosperity in every corner of Virginia. I think I've laid out my vision very well," Deeds said.

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin made no apologies for the routine -- McDonnell was sitting nearby during the speech. In a statement, Martin said that Deeds has been "unable to express any vision for Virginia's future" and "regularly takes two positions on important issues."

"Why the Deeds campaign wants to attack a prominent supporter of both Governor Tim Kaine and President Barack Obama, while reminding voters that she strongly supports Bob McDonnell for governor, is beyond us," Martin said.

The clip -- as well as television advertisements featuring Deeds bungling questions about taxes to reporters right after a recent debate -- show a central theme of McDonnell's campaign as we enter the home stretch of the race: that Deeds is unable to articulate his views in a way that seem gubernatorial.

But Deeds's response to it suggests a closing argument for his campaign, too -- an insistence that Deeds may talk less pretty but he talks more candidly.

Who will voters believe? 29 days to find out.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  October 5, 2009; 2:16 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Next: Moran Advises Deeds: Give People a Reason to Vote for You


Incredible that Mr. Elleithee would be shocked, Shocked, SHOCKED at such a personal attack!

Just last April, when he worked for T-Mac, there were quiet drums beating from Terry and his advisers on how unfortunate it was for Deeds that he had trouble communicating...

Hmm, I wish I got paid to spin for one, then for another...

While we are at it, why not put this Mr. Tribbett on your payroll--he seems to be doing your and Deeds jobs.

As for Mrs. Johnson, I'd say she has a right to free speech--even if tactless. BTW, didn't she give $$$$ to Gov. Kaine's election and inauguration? Would love to see a spin quote from him...

Posted by: HumbleGovWorker | October 5, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Sheila Johnson co-founder of BET communicated negative images of African American woman and men throughout BET'S History. The damage she and her former Husband Bob Johnson did has damaged the community badly. Should we expect anything differently from her and her former husband?

Posted by: MILLER123 | October 5, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh Snap!! No she di'nt! Disgraceful!

Posted by: thebobbob | October 5, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Martin and AG (before he resigned before the end of his term to run for Gov) Bob McDonnell must be incredibly cynical if they believe people do not realize that Ms. Johnson was making a childish attack on the act of STUTTERING -- and not making an editorial comment about the CONTENT of Senator Deeds' policies.

VIRGINIANS ARE NOT FOOLS, Mr. Martin and Mr. McDonnell.

Shame on you for not asking for an apology from Ms. Johnson who is obviously mocking our Democratic candidate's speech pattern!

On the other hand, this IS a good way for Moderate and Independent Virginians to see how low the Mainstream VA GOP has sunk.

But, I'll give you one last chance: Get it over with and apologize or end up with the final "Macacca" nail in your electoral coffin.

What is WRONG with you guys?

Posted by: rebeccajm | October 5, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

She's a disgusting human being, and proof that money can't buy class.

Posted by: oycrikey | October 5, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Johnson should know better.

Posted by: valandsend | October 5, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

wow, I guess we finally have the answer as to why Bob Johnson sold BET out...sheesh!

Posted by: cbmuzik | October 5, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Sheila Johnson is a b-b-b-b-b....

Posted by: oldmoney | October 5, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Mocking someone's stuttering. Classy. And VERY Republican.

Posted by: KidTJ | October 5, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Why anyone would give credence to anything this dreadful harriden says is beyond me. Communicate? How about honestly communicating why your "Salamander" enterprise went belly up leaving a huge scar on the land. How about communicating why you raised your daughter to be an airheaded, white, sorority girl thinking that was what class was.

How about your background and that of your own ex-husband. Co-founder of BET, indeed. BET is an embarassment, blaxploitation soft porn because you two starved it to fund your white fantasies.

You two were DC Council staff who traded on insider influence and information to co-opt the cable business in the District. You did a darn poor job running it too. Your "fortune" was built on grafting the public dole.

What this video makes clear is what many in DC have long known. Sheila and Bob Johnson are arrogant, small minded, mean, low class, thugs!

Posted by: SoCali | October 5, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Sheila Johnson is proof that wealth and class are not synonymous and that you can be both black and a bigot. She has the right to free speech. I have the right to never patronize her Salamander Resort.

Posted by: RetiredVeteran | October 5, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

What in the world is this woman's problem?
Oh, that's right, she belongs to Bob McDonnell's entourage.
Shame on her for making fun of anyone! This type of speaking shames her and her family!

Posted by: shrad433 | October 5, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Shiela Johnson is nothing but a bottom feeder. The used that disgracful BET to make some money and now she thinks someone really cares about her opinion. To make fun of someone because they have a speech inpediment is low and she is the lowest.
I agree with the other posting money can't buy you class, and McDonnell has shown what a low life he really is.

Posted by: samorris404 | October 6, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

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