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McAuliffe tells Fairfax Dems: Don't count out Creigh

Rosalind Helderman

So if former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe is betting Gov. Jon Corzine takes New Jersey by seven, what about his former opponent Creigh Deeds in Virginia?

"Deeds by two," McAuliffe said this evening at the Fall Festival of the Dranesville Democratic Committee, at his McLean home.

Dozens of longtime Democrats were greeted by an enormous plastic pumpkin in front of the home before heading inside for the fundraiser and general pep rally. They crowded into the McAuliffe's kitchen to hear from Del. Margi Vanderhye and Del. Jim Scott, lieutenant governor candidate Jody Wagner, McAuliffe and Deeds' campaign manager Joe Abbey. A laminated copy of this morning's Washington Post endorsement of Deeds was propped up on the kitchen table.

"Don't ever count Creigh out," McAuliffe said, to hearty laughter from a group that didn't need to be reminded that Deeds had come from way behind McAuliffe in the primary to defeat him in the race's final days. Turning to Abbey, who served as Deeds' manager in the primary as well, he shouted, "Thanks Joe!" Then turned to daughter Sally in the crowd and said, "Do you know what he did to your father?"

After the remarks, McAuliffe said the environment in Virginia this year is tough for Democrats, but he thinks the party can win the election by boosting turnout among African-Americans, women and Northern Virginians.

"Now is the time for the closing argument," he said. He said that message must revolve around creating jobs, building on the work of Gov. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and electing a governor who can pick up the phone and reach President Obama to talk about Virginia's needs. He acknowledged Republican Bob McDonnell has "gone out there very aggressively to talk about the jobs issue," jabbing McDonnell for picking up one of his own slogans from the primary.

But McAuliffe said the Post endorsement, Tuesday's event with President Clinton and the following week's rally with President Obama could spark new energy in the race. "A lot can happen in two weeks," he insisted.

And he denied he was attempting to be critical of the Deeds campaign in a recent speech at Harvard, where he told students, "Tell people what you stand for. People don't vote the negative stuff."

He said he was responding to a question about whether a candidate can win by only going negative. Picking up a theme from the Deeds camp in recent days, he insisted Republicans have aired more negative ads against Deeds has aired in total, positive or negative.

"Look, Creigh is working his heart out. He's got a great team involved. I mean, he won the primary. Who I am to second guess anybody?" McAuliffe said.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  October 18, 2009; 7:43 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe  
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Next: First Click -- Virginia


Seriously, would you buy a used car from terry mcauliffe?

Posted by: SMWE357 | October 19, 2009 5:33 AM | Report abuse

There are two problems with Sen. Deeds's campaign:
1. He really has not had enough positive material to establish what he would do as Governor. He has only told Virginia that he would govern like Kaine.
2. The negative side of his campaign is all third person narative. McDonnell has been able to counter it with personal testimony visual from his daughter and others. The negative side of McDonnell's campaign has all been video of Deeds misspeaking, which Deeds has not gone on camera to counter.

Deeds needs two types of commercials to counter this, both now must have very strong positives because Virginians will not listen to any more negatives from him:
1. Introduce yourself: The ad campaign should be around a slogan like "I am a Virginian born and bred."
2. Talk straight to the voters. A series of crisp campaign ads with Deeds speaking that focus on Virginia's problems and what he will do. Relate the problems to the physical: Our transportation arteries are clogged and we must act now or they will become completely blocked. Decades of neglect are leaving Virginians stuck in traffic for 1 hour per day.... These should just have Deeds talking, no negative visuals like real traffic jams.

On the other hand, does anyone honestly believe that President Obama would be more responsive to a Democratic Governor than a Republican Governor? Isn't that what we call partisan corruption?

Posted by: krush01 | October 19, 2009 6:40 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Corzine and Obama should come and campaign together for Deeds. They are all liberals- and Corzine could spend millions on deeds and deeds if elected could repay the favor with millions of contracts to NJ unions

Posted by: espnfan | October 19, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Deeds is bragging about supporting abortion--the killing of innocent little baby girls and boys. For that reason alone he should be given no public trust.

Posted by: yourstruly1991 | October 19, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

espnfan, you know, Northern Virginians tend to be pretty liberal, so please, keep beatin' up on 35% of the state electorate! I'm sure it will help McDonnell...

Posted by: DouginMountVernon | October 19, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

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