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 it is more modest? His response: "Yes."
(The full statement from Cuccinelli is below.)
Julian Walker of the Virginian-Pilot first reported Saturday that Cuccinelli had distributed lapel pins with the new version of the seal to his staffers.
Here's what Cuccinelli had to say on the issue:
The seal on my pin is one of many seal variations that were used before a uniform version was created in 1930. I felt it was historic and would be something unique for my staff. My joke about Virtue being a little more virtuous in her more modest clothing was intended to get laughs from my employees -- which it did! Just because we've always done something a certain way doesn't mean we always have to continue doing it that way. Now seriously, can we get on with real news?
Cuccinelli's explanation is not likely to end the story. The covered chest just has too many shades of John Ashcroft to be dismissed so easily. Walker already quoted University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato saying Cuccinelli will be ridiculed nationally for the move. Just wait until Rachel Maddow gets ahold of this tomorrow.
May 2, 2010; 3:58 PM ET
Categories: Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman
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