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Virginia Politics Blog: May 2, 2010 - May 8, 2010

UPDATED: McDonnell to see Obama address Hampton grads

But will they hug? We've received late word today from the office of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell that he will attend a commencement address by President Obama tomorrow at Hampton University. Not only that, but McDonnell's office says he will greet Obama when the Democrat arrives in Virginia. No word yet on what Obama plans to talk about in the 10 a.m. speech. But at a commencement address last weekend at the University of Michigan, the president delivered a rousing call for civility in politics. That has also been a particular theme for McDonnell in recent weeks, and the Republican's decision to greet the leader of the opposition party, sometimes reviled by elements of the GOP, could be considered a powerful symbol of the idea. It's also something of a bold move for the Republican, given that greeting Obama (and, yes, being photographed hugging him) has been one of the...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 8, 2010; 5:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Barack Obama , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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'Secret Garden' tops First Lady's reading recommendations for kids

Hey kids, looking for a book for the summer? First Lady Maureen McDonnell might suggest The Secret Garden. McDonnell is one of 42 first spouses today named Reading Ambassadors as part of Scholastic's Summer Challenge, which encourages children to read four or more books over the summer break from school. In support of the program, Scholastic donates 500 books to a school of the first spouse's choosing. With her ambassadorship in mind, we checked in with McDonnell's Chief of Staff, Mary Shea Sutherland, to find out if McDonnell might have any recommendations for the kiddies. And it's the story of British children who find a secret garden hidden behind an ivy-covered wall. McDonnell apparently talked about her appreciation for the book when she was a child while cutting a ribbon at a garden in Arlington recently. She also recently planted her own vegetable garden at the Executive Mansion, a small...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 7, 2010; 5:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Feds given more time to respond to Virginia health care suit

U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson has granted a request from U.S. Justice department lawyers that they be given more time to respond to a lawsuit from Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care law, giving them until May 24 to file their response. They will likely ask that the court dismiss the suit. True to the Eastern District of Virginia's speedy reputation, Hudson had last week ordered that the feds respond in just 11 days--that deadline would be Tuesday. But the government requested more time and Hudson agreed. From court filings, it looks as if Cuccinelli did not object to the 13-day extension. Earlier this week, he had said he was in discussions with the Justice department on the issue....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 7, 2010; 4:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Attorney General of Virginia, Health care, Ken Cuccinelli, United States Department of Justice, Virginia  
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Herrity attacks Connolly as Democrats weigh budget decision

House Democratic leaders have yet to decide whether they will try to write and pass a budget this year, but one of Rep. Gerald Connolly's (D-Va.) Republican opponents isn't waiting for a final decision before attempting to use the issue against him on the campaign trail. In an email sent Friday to supporters of his campaign, Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity (R) made clear the line of attack he would use in the fall if he wins the GOP nomination on June 8 and Democrats decide against introducing a spending blueprint for fiscal 2011. "As a member of the House Budget Committee, Connolly is responsible for helping to write the budget," Herrity wrote. "But the House may not write a budget this year because Connolly and his mentor House Speaker Nancy Pelosi do not want the American public to know how reckless they are with your money. They prefer to...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 7, 2010; 2:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Ben Pershing , Gerald E. Connolly , Pat Herrity  | Tags: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  
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McDonnell names commission to reshape, shrink government

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) this afternoon released the names of the advisers who will spend months searching for ways to shave hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget and make government more user-friendly. The 31 members of the Governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring includes eight legislators, including House Speaker Bill Howell, local officials and business leaders, many of them well known around the state. The commission will be chaired by Fred Malek, founder of Thayer Capital Partners. Malek, a major Republican donor, served as a finance chairman to Sen. John McCain in 2008 and has also been an adviser to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The group will consider closing some of the state's 130 agencies, consolidating accounting and payroll systems, putting more forms online, privatizing state functions and eliminating annual reports. Its most controversial task will be to consider selling the state's 350 liquor stores,...

By Anita Kumar  |  May 7, 2010; 2:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  | Tags: Virginia  
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Gingrich to join McDonnell in Richmond to talk about health care

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich will join Gov. Bob McDonnell, a fellow Republican, in Richmond next Friday to talk about "Creating a 21st Century Intelligent Health System in Virginia." The event will be sponsored by the Center for Health Transformation, launched in 2003 as a project of Gingrich's consulting firm. It will take place at MeadWestvaco, a top contributor to McDonnell, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a non-partisan tracker of money in politics. This spring, McDonnell signed a bill that will make it illegal for the state to require citizens to purchase health care. Later, the state challenged the constitutionality of the federal health-care law. Gingrich was a strong supporter of McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) during the election, helping them raise hundreds of thousands of dollars at fundraisers....

By Anita Kumar  |  May 7, 2010; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Health care, MeadWestvaco, Newt Gingrich, Virginia  
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Cuccinelli plans to propose legal changes in wake of U-Va. lacrosse killing

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) plans to take a lead in rewriting state law on sharing criminal information with college administrators, in the wake of the killing of University of Virginia senior Yeardley Love.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 7, 2010; 1:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Michael Mann, University of Virginia  
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McDonnell announces transportation meetings will be streamed online

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced today that Virginia transportation boards and commission meetings will start to be broadcast online. "Virginians interested in witnessing the important work that takes place during these meetings can log on to their laptops, PCs or smart phones for easy access," McDonnell (R) said. "Government reform, including creating a more open state government, was an initiative I advocated for during my campaign for Governor. Open government is better government." The link is www.dmvnow.com/events. The inaugural broadcast will be a meeting of the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board on Monday, May 10, at 8:30 a.m....

By Anita Kumar  |  May 7, 2010; 12:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell , Transportation  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Virginia  
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Northern Virginia ads urge Obama to halt offshore drilling plan

Firedoglake.com, a progressive political blog, began airing TV ads in the Washington market, which includes Northern Virginia, targeting President Obama's plans to expand offshore drilling following the catatrophic well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. "After slamming John McCain's support for offshore oil drilling as a 'gimmick' on the 2008 campaign trail, now President Obama plans to double down on that gimmick in the face of the biggest environmental disaster in at least a generation," Firedoglake.com founder Jane Hamsher said. "The BP oil disaster should be a wake-up call to take offshore drilling off the table." Obama announced in March that Virginia would become one of the first East Coast states to drill offshore for oil and natural gas. Federal officials Thursday indefinitely postponed public hearings on oil and gas leases that would allow for drilling off Virginia's coast, as they await an investigation into the causes of the Gulf...

By Anita Kumar  |  May 7, 2010; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  | Tags: Offshore drilling, Virginia  
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U.-Va. plans to comply with Cuccinelli subpoena

It looks like the University of Virginia does not plan to resist a subpoena from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) asking for documents related to the work of climate scientist and former professor Michael Mann, despite requests from some advocacy groups that it does so. In a statement this evening, university spokesman Carol Wood said the school has received a 60-day extension to reply to the civil investigative demand. The new date for handing over documents related to Mann's work is July 26. But while she said that it is appropriate for groups like the ACLU and the American Association of University Professors -- both of which have urged the university's visitors to go to court to resist Cuccinelli's request -- to weigh in, the school plans to turn over documents it retains from Mann's tenure at the school. He left in 2005. "The attorney general has broad authority to...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 6, 2010; 9:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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Interior Department move does not necessarily disrupt Va. drilling timeline, department confirms

The Department of the Interior is confirming that today's action on oil drilling in Virginia merely means that upcoming public meetings on the 2012 sale of contracts to drill for oil have been delayed -- nothing more.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 6, 2010; 3:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Tom Perriello and the politics of principle

(Cross-posted from Chris Cillizza's The Fix blog.) Virginia Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello is a major Republican target in 2010. AP Photo by Steve Helber Ask freshman Rep. Tom Perriello (D) what his votes in favor of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan, cap and trade proposal and health care law mean for him politically and he readily admits he doesn't know. What he does know is that "people evaluate authenticity", adding: "What people see from me is that I am trying to speak from a place of what makes me tick." Perriello's authenticity-before-politics mantra has made him a hero to many Democrats -- and a figure of considerable regard in the eyes of the White House -- and simultaneously a top target for Republicans who believe he is voting his own interests and not those of his conservative-leaning 5th district of Virginia. "Perriello seems to have come to Washington and...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  May 6, 2010; 3:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2010 , Tom Perriello  
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Cantor's policy group 'in a suspended state'

One year ago this week, a group of Republican luminaries led by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) gathered at Pie-Tanza pizzeria in Arlington for a town-hall style launch of a new group designed to help the GOP forge a policy agenda -- the National Council for a New America. Now, the group isn't meeting anymore -- at a pizzeria or anywhere else -- and on Thursday, Democratic operatives were gleefully sending around a story in CQ and Roll Call noting the organization's demise. Cantor spokesman John Murray confirmed to The Washington Post that NCNA was no longer operational. "It's in a suspended state," he said. With the help of ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney (R), who attended that first event, Cantor started NCNA to "engage with and empower the American people to develop innovative solutions that meet the serious challenges confronting our country." The...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 6, 2010; 3:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Ben Pershing , Election 2010 , Eric Cantor  
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ACLU, AAUP to U-Va.: Go to court over Cuccinelli demand for climate change records

The ACLU of Virginia and the American Assocation of University Professors have sent a joint letter to John O. Wynne, the rector of the University of Virginia, urging that he and other members of the Board of Visitors "use every legal avenue at your disposal" to resist Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's civil information demand on the work of climate scientist and former U.-Va. professor Michael Mann. Read the whole letter here. In the letter, AAUP General Counsel Martha S. West and ACLU of Virginia legal director Rebecca K. Glenberg offer their assistance to the university, if the visitors choose to seek judicial review of Cuccinelli's civil investigation demand. The demand, in effect a subpoena, is part of a process outlined in the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. Cuccinelli has said he is investigating whether Mann defrauded taxpayers when he sought public grants for his research. "The nature of scientific research...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 6, 2010; 12:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: American Civil Liberties Union, Ken Cuccinelli, University of Virginia, Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act  
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Cuccinelli says he is not "targeting scientific conclusions" in U-Va. demand

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) told Jay Warren, a reporter with the Roanoke television station WSLS, that he is not "targeting scientific conclusions" with his civil information demand to the University of Virginia, asking for documents from a global warming scientist on the faculty until 2005. In an interview Wednesday, Cuccinelli expanded on remarks he made to us earlier this week, in which he said he was conducting an "open inquiry" into whether scientist Michael Mann had defrauded taxpayers when he sought public grants for his work. You can watch the interview below and read a transcript of the relevent portion after the jump. Warren writes that Cuccinelli would only participate in the interview if Warren agreed not to ask about the attorney general's use of a new, more modest, state seal on pins used by his office staffers. After criticism, Cuccinelli has since ditched the pins. The same request...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 6, 2010; 10:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Climate Change Skeptics, Climate change, Environment, Ken Cuccinelli, University of Virginia  
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National Republican training program promotes two Va. candidates

The National Republican Congressional Committee has promoted two Virginians to the top tier of its candidate training program, sending a signal that it views their campaigns as well-managed and worthy of additional support. The NRCC added state House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith, who is running against Rep. Rick Boucher (D) in the 9th district, and auto dealer Scott Rigell, who is challenging Rep. Glenn Nye (D) in the 2nd district, to its "Young Guns" program, which gives GOP campaigns benchmarks to hit for fundraising, grassroots organizing, Web communication strategy and other categories. Campaigns that hit those marks move up through an NRCC ranking system, progressing from "On the Radar," to "Contenders" to "Young Guns." Labels aside, the promotion of Griffith and Rigell has the practical effect of letting Republican activists and donors know that national GOP leaders believe the two candidates are running professional operations. "It is not an endorsement...

By Ben Pershing  |  May 6, 2010; 10:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Glenn Nye , Keith Fimian , Morgan Griffith , Pat Herrity , Scott Rigell  | Tags: Glenn Nye, Keith Fimian, National Republican Congressional Committee, Scott Rigell, Virginia  
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UPDATED: U-Va. president Casteen to meet with McDonnell on lacrosse player killing

University of Virginia President John Casteen and other university leaders plan to meet with Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) in coming days to discuss possible changes to the law in the wake of the killing of a female lacrosse player and the arrest of a male lacrosse player in connection with her death. Casteen has said university officials did not know that senior George Huguely had been previously charged with an alcohol-related offense off-campus. The Post reported today that eight players on the lacrosse team had faced such charges while in school; state law does not require that university officials be alerted to criminal charges of students. Late Wednesday, McDonnell answered questions from reporters about the case. He said his office is in touch with state police and local authorities as the investigation continues. He also said he has not spoken with Yeardley Love's family but said he often does speak...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 6, 2010; 8:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, University of Virginia, Yeardley Love  
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U-Va. faculty senate: Cuccinelli actions 'directly threaten academic freedom'

The Executive Council of the Faculty Senate of the University of Virginia has now weighed in on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's civil investigative demand, which sought a wide range of documents dealing with the work the climate scientist Michael Mann. Mann's former colleagues write that the "unusual" request appears to be motivated by a difference of opinion with Mann's findings and threatens academic freedom: We maintain that peer review by the scientific community is the appropriate means by which to identify error in the generation, presentation and interpretation of scientific data. The Attorney General's use of his power to issue a CID under the provisions of the Virginia [Fraud Against Taxpayers Act] is an inappropriate way to engage with the process of scientific inquiry. His action and the potential threat of legal prosecution of scientific endeavor that has satisfied peer-review standards send a chilling message to scientists engaged in basic...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 5, 2010; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Ken Cuccinelli, Michael Mann, University of Virginia, Virginia  
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McDonnell can't recall issuing civil demand similar to Cuccinelli's request to U-Va.

As Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) faces criticism for issuing a civil inveistgation demand, essentially a civil subpoena, to the University of Virginia, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said today that he does not recall issuing any similar civil demands to state agencies during the more than three years he served as Virginia's attorney general. Meeting with reporters following signing bills related to job creation, McDonnell said he referred questions about the civil demand to Cuccinelli's office. McDonnell added that he had issued CIDs when he held the state's top legal job before his election last year as governor--but only to private companies. "It was mainly that I recall private sector companies in consumer cases or health care providers in Medicaid fraud cases, or then some other select ones where that was the best method available to us to do our statutory duty," he said. "I don't remember one that was...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 5, 2010; 4:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Ken Cuccinelli, Michael Mann, University of Virginia  
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Obey retirement boosts Moran's clout

House Appropriations Chairman David Obey's announcement that he plans to retire will set off a shuffle that should result in Northern Virginia gaining more clout on the powerful spending panel.

By Ben Pershing  |  May 5, 2010; 3:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ben Pershing , James P. Moran Jr.  
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Cuccinelli manager snags national award for campaigning

When Ken Cuccinelli (R) announced he was running for attorney general, there were many skeptics who doubted he had much of a shot at the office. But now he's four months on the job and generating national headlines along the way. And the woman who helped get him elected? She just got named a "rising star" by a big national campaign magazine. Meredith Quillen, who managed Cuccinelli's run for attorney general and has either run or consulted for each of his previous campaigns for office, was one of 41 political operatives to get the title from Campaign & Elections Politics Magazine. The award is reserved for political consultants, campaigners or advocates under age 35 and went to 15 Democrats, 15 Republicans and 11 nonpartisans. She'll get a write-up in the magazine's June issue and be featured at a seminar on the "Art of Political Campaigning." According to Noah Wall, Cuccinelli's...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 5, 2010; 1:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia  
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Environmentalists call on McDonnell to drop offshore drilling plan

A coalition of four environmental groups is urging Gov. Bob McDonnell to drop his strong support of offshore oil and natural gas drilling off Virginia's coast. The groups are starting a petition drive today to collect 10,000 signatures and will hold a rally Friday morning on Virginia Beach. "Bob McDonnell, despite the tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico, continues to say he doesn't want to slow down one bit,'' Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network said on a conference call with reporters this afternoon. An explosion and fire April 20 on an exploratory well in the gulf left 11 workers missing and presumed dead....

By Anita Kumar  |  May 5, 2010; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Confusion reigns in Clifton mayoral election

Towns and cities across Virginia held elections Tuesday, including Northern Virginia's largest incorporated localties, such as Leesburg, Herndon and Manassas. The election has left a cliff-hanger in Clifton, where the town's only mayoral candidate, Michael F. Anton, withdrew from the race more than a week ago. Now, election officials are sorting through 112 write-in votes to see if Clifton voters settled on an alternative. Here's hoping Mickey Mouse didn't make the cut. Elsewhere, several incumbent mayors were reelected in Northern Virginia. You can take a look at all Washington region results here. More coverage from the Post's Derek Kravitz after the jump:...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 5, 2010; 11:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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On Cinco de Mayo, Hispanic activist to urge McDonnell to act on immigration

Gov. Bob McDonnell will honor Mexican heritage as part of a Cinco de Mayo celebration this afternoon in the garden outside the governor's mansion. At least one of the 70 Hispanic business leaders and supporters -- longtime activist Daniel Cortez of Stafford County -- said he will use his time with McDonnell to encourage the governor to act on the state's illegal immigration problem. Cortez said that he has been frustrated that the federal government has failed to pass a bill, and he believes that McDonnell could shame President Obama and Congress into action. He suggests McDonnell develop a Virginia version of the "Bracero" program, which put millions of Hispanics -- many Mexican -- to work after World War II while allowing them to return to their home countries regularly. "A state-sponsored Bracero program would force the federal government to do its job and secure Virginia's borders and stop both...

By Anita Kumar  |  May 5, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Cinco de Mayo, United States Congress, Virginia  
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Former U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode joins Constitution Party

(Cross-posted from Right Now, The Post's new blog focused on the conservative movement.) The former Virginia congressman -- who was elected as a Democrat, an independent and a Republican -- is joining the Constitution Party. There's no sign yet of him joining the race against Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.), who beat him in 2008, but I know that tea party activists have been looking for a vehicle to win the seat without backing the GOP's preferred candidate, Del. Robert Hurt. His decision to join as only a "supporting member" leaves him some room to decide....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  May 4, 2010; 5:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Laura Bush kicks off book tour in Virginia

Former first lady Laura Bush kicked off a national book tour today at the Books-A-Million in McLean to promote her new memoir, "Spoken From the Heart." Check out the video from her first stop below: Bush is also scheduled to appear at bookstores in Arlington and Washington on Thursday before heading to Dallas on Friday....

By Anita Kumar  |  May 4, 2010; 4:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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ACLU wants state police chaplains to know that they may deliver only nonsectarian prayers

The ACLU is asking State Police Superintendent Steven Flaherty to distribute pamphlets to all troopers who serve as chaplains to make it clear that they may deliver only nonsectarian prayers at department-sponsored events. The move comes days after Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) directed Flaherty to reverse a two-year-old policy banning troopers from referring to Jesus Christ in public prayers. "Our simple message to the superintendent and to police chaplains is to follow the law, regardless of whether or not a prayer policy is in place," ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis said. "Our pamphlet does more than just state the bottom line that official prayers at government events must be nonsectarian. It also explains to chaplains how the courts came to their decisions leading to the current state of the law."...

By Anita Kumar  |  May 4, 2010; 3:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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Cuccinelli urged to rescind subpoena; U-Va. urged to resist it

The Union of Concerned Scientists has sent a letter to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, asking him to rescind his demand for documents from the University of Virginia related to the research of a climate science professor. Cuccinelli has asked the university to turn over a wide range of documents related to grants sought by Michael Mann, a leading proponent of global warming who worked at U-Va. until 2005. Cuccinelli says he is investigating the possibility that Mann violated the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. "It is unacceptable to put forward allegations against Dr. Mann and other climate scientists simply because their research results do not comport with one's preconceptions," writes Francesca T. Grifo, director and senior scientist of the group's Scientific Integrity Program, in the letter....

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 4, 2010; 1:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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Judge orders feds to respond to health care suit next week

They don't call it the rocket docket for nothing. Late Friday, Eastern District of Virginia Judge Henry E. Hudson issued a scheduling order in Virginia's suit arguing the federal health care law is unconstitutional, giving the federal government 11 days to respond to the complaint. Clocks are now ticking--11 days from the order would mean the government would have to file a response next week, on Tuesday, May 11. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) said he spent part of Monday on the phone with officials from the U.S. Justice Department, fielding a request that Virginia put up no objection if the government requests more time of the judge. Cuccinelli said he is weighing the request. "Needless to say, they called us right up and requested to push that back," Cuccinelli said laughing. "We're discussing it with them." Cuccinelli pointed out that the suit is entirely based on legal arguments about...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 4, 2010; 9:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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After breast controversy, Cuccinelli ditches new staffer lapel pins

If one statement is not enough, try, try again ... In a second attempt to quiet controversy over new pins his political action committee bought for office staffers, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has announced that he will discontinue use of the pins, which he said have become a distraction to his office. The new pin had featured a historic version of the Virginia seal, in which the Roman Goddess Virtus's traditionally bare breast is covered by a plate of armor. His new statement also seems to have been prompted by those who have noticed that the historic seal he chose -- there were apparently several versions before the Virginia state seal was formally adopted in the 1930s -- was one that was in use during the state's Confederate past. Here's what Cuccinelli had to say: The image on my office lapel pin is similar to that of a large antique...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 3, 2010; 5:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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UPDATED: Climate scientist says Cuccinelli subpoena attempt an 'abuse of office'

Penn State and former University of Virginia climate science professor Michael Mann says Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is trying to "smear" him and his science with a civil subpoena to U-Va. requesting information about his research at the university where he worked until 2005. Mann says he has received no inquiries from the attorney general's office, but the University of Virginia has confirmed that it received a Civil Investigative Demand, essentially a subpoena, requesting information about Mann. Carol Wood, a spokeswoman for the university, said in a statement that the university has "a legal obligation to answer this request and it is our intention to respond to the extent required by law." She said the scope of the information requested by the attorney general means it will take the university some time to comply. It's unclear what Cuccinelli (R) is up to. He has a pending lawsuit against the...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 3, 2010; 10:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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Updated: McDonnell to host fundraiser for Ehrlich in Maryland

The Post's Aaron Davis reports that Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell will hold a fundraiser for former Maryland governor and fellow Republican Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. At Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner, McDonnell said he plans to travel to Maryland "soon" to attend a fundraiser for Ehrlich, who is running against Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). He would only say it is scheduled within the next two weeks, and it was unclear if it will be open to the media. Read the full report. We'll bring you more details when we have them. Updated: McDonnell's office tells us the fundraiser will be the evening of June 7 in Northern Virginia....

By Anita Kumar  |  May 3, 2010; 8:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Cuccinelli says he chose new lapel pins to cover history, not breast

A spokesman for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says Cuccinelli did not choose a new version of the Virginia seal for the lapel pins for his staffers, one in which the image of the female Virtus standing astride a prone male Tyranny is wearing a breast plate covering her traditionally bare chest, to enforce modesty at the office. That was our remaining question for Brian Gottstein, even after reading a statement distributed by Cuccinelli's office after midnight today. In the statement, Cuccinelli indicates that he chose the pre-1930s version of the Virginia seal to be "historic" and "unique" and had intended a comment at a staff meeting about the covered chest as a joke. Still, he didn't quite deny the covered bosom played a role in the new seal's selection. So, we asked Gottstein: Did Cuccinelli's statement mean that he chose the seal to be historic and unique and *not* because...

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 2, 2010; 3:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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