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Virginia Politics Blog: September 12, 2010 - September 18, 2010

McDonnell will not spare condemned woman

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) said late Friday that he would not spare the life of a 41-year-old mother and grandmother who is set to become the first woman executed in the state in nearly a century.

By Maria Glod and Anita Kumar  | September 17, 2010; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell  
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Portrait of civil rights pioneer Barbara Johns unveiled at Capitol

A portrait of a civil rights pioneer Barbara Johns was unveiled at a crowded ceremony at the state Capitol Friday afternoon. Johns, then 16, led a 1951 student strike in Prince Edward County that led to the inclusion of Virginia in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing school segregation. The portrait depicts Johns on April 23, 1951, the day of the student strike. It was painted by Richmond native Louis Briel. "It is my pleasure to unveil this portrait of a young woman who simply and gracefully formulated a dream of equality from her personal experience with inequality," Gov. Bob McDonnell said. "It will inspire a new generation of students." The portrait will hang in the Capitol until the spring when it will be moved to the Robert Russa Moton Museum in Farmville, which tells the story of the civil rights movement in Prince Edward County....

By Anita Kumar  | September 17, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Ross Perot to attend war memorial center opening in Richmond

Former presidential candidate Ross Perot will attend Friday night's grand opening of the education center at the Virginia War Memorial, which will be named after his longtime friends, Paul and Phyllis Galanti. Galanti was a Navy prisoner of war during the Vietnam War with Sen. John McCain (R) and now serves as Gov. Bob McDonnell's commissioner for veteran affairs. Perot and the Galantis became close after he tried to get the POWs better treatment and released during the Vietnam War. About 560 people are attending the event, including McDonnell, former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, who lives in Charlottesville, and a host of other local and state officials. The memorial, built in 1955, was designed to honor Virginians who died in World War II and the Korean War. The shrine was later enlarged to honor those killed in Vietnam and Desert Storm. It now has names engraved on its glass...

By Anita Kumar  | September 17, 2010; 3:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, John McCain, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Alexandria council member faces complaint about alleged Hatch Act violations

Updated 9:59 p.m. Alexandria City Council member Alicia Hughes is facing a federal inquiry into whether she violated the Hatch Act, a law that limits political activity by federal employees. The Alexandria Times reports that an attorney with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel contacted the local newspaper's offices earlier this week for information on Hughes, who is a patent examiner. The special counsel's office said it will not confirm or deny the inquiry. The Hatch Act, for example, prohibits federal workers from using their federal position to influence elections and from being candidates in partisan elections. There are exceptions for employees who run for office as an independent. Hughes said in a statement that she was made aware of the inquiry, but has been unable to confirm it. "I do not have actual knowledge of what the allegations are, and therefore, I am not in a position to issue...

By Christy Goodman  | September 17, 2010; 3:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Warner hits the road during summer vacation

What did U.S. Sen. Mark Warner do on his summer vacation? Road trip. The junior senator from Virginia visited 25 cities, counties and towns and traveled 1,622 miles across the state during Congress's August recess. Check out the video below:...

By Anita Kumar  | September 17, 2010; 2:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Mark Warner  
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McCain to raise cash for Moran challenger

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will pay a political visit to Alexandria next week, joining an all-star team of GOP lobbyists to raise money for 8th district congressional candidate Patrick Murray.

By Ben Pershing  | September 17, 2010; 12:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, James P. Moran Jr., John McCain  
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Updated: Group calls on McDonnell to cancel appearance at Value Voters Summit

A liberal group is calling on Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) to cancel his appearance at the conservative Values Voter Summit this weekend because of the presence of American Family Association's Bryan Fischer, who has made several controversial comments about gay people and Muslims. People for the American Way has written to McDonnell as well as a number of other prominent Republicans who plan to attend the event, including Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell. Read a copy of the letter. McDonnell is scheduled to speak before Fischer's session Saturday morning. We have reached out to the governor's office and will let you know when we hear back. Updated, 2:25 p.m. McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin reponded with a brief statement: "The governor looks forward to speaking at the Summit."...

By Anita Kumar  | September 17, 2010; 12:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Corey Stewart has second challenger for Prince William board seat

Another Prince William County resident has stepped up to challenge Board Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R) in the 2011 elections. Gainesville resident Gary C. Friedman, chairman of the county planning commission, will contend for a spot on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors for the fourth time. Friedman, 59, was defeated in the race for the Gainesville district seat in 1999 and 2003. In 2006, he lost to fellow Democrat Sharon Pandak, who then lost in a special election to Stewart. "The county is ready for new political leadership and I think I can provide that," Friedman said....

By Jennifer Buske  | September 17, 2010; 8:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Corey Stewart, Jennifer Buske, Prince William  
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Updated: Beer and wine wholesalers oppose McDonnell's ABC privatization plan

The Virginia Beer Wholesalers Association has joined the wine distributors in opposing Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to privatize the state's liquor system. The beer association represents 32 distributors while the Virginia Wine Wholesalers Association, which voted Sept. 7, represents 14. Most members are Virginia-based family businesses. Both groups oppose the proposal primarily because small businesses would not be able to afford the licenses, spokesman Jim Babb said. McDonnell's proposal calls for auctioning off 1,000 licenses to sell liquor. Minimum bids for licenses would be based on a formula that takes into account the size of the proposed store and the current profitability of ABC stores in different geographic regions. For instance, the governor's office says the minimum bid for stores in rural Page County would range from $102,844 to $257,114, depending on the license tier. In more populated Virginia Beach, they would range from $191,072 to $477,681. Businesses would have...

By Anita Kumar  | September 16, 2010; 5:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, Transportation  
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GOP's Kelly outpaces Zimmerman in fundraising

This was a hot summer for Mark D. Kelly, the Republican candidate for the Arlington County Board. Kelly raised more money within the July-August filing period than Democratic incumbent Chris Zimmerman, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

By Christy Goodman  | September 16, 2010; 4:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  !Elections, Election 2010  
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Howell says General Assembly will consider federal 'repeal amendment'

Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford) has co-written a column for the Wall Street Journal's online editorial page calling for a "repeal amendment" to the U.S. Constitution, which would allow for the overturn of any federal law adopted by Congress if 2/3 of state legislatures agreed. In the column, which Howell penned jointly with Georgetown University Law Center professor Randy E. Barnett, the House Speaker writes that the Virginia General Assembly will consider legislation proposing such a constitutional amendment during its annual session, which begins in January 2011....

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 16, 2010; 4:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman, William Howell  
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Three Arlington legislators urge compromise on I-395/95 HOT lane lawsuit

Three members of the General Assembly from Arlington are defending the Arlington County Board's lawsuit challenging the construction of high occupancy toll lanes on I-395/95. Their letter is a response to a bipartisan missive from House Speaker Bill Howell (R) and Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Colgan (D-Prince William) earlier this week, which blasted Arlington for trying to use the civil rights act to block the project and asking for monetary damages from individual public officials who had been involved with pushing the project. "We believe the Arlington County Board has the responsibility to take all appropriate steps to defend its constituents' interests when it feels those interests are not adequately addressed in the transportation process," write Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D) and Dels. Bob Brink and Patrick Hope....

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 16, 2010; 3:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman, Transportation  
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McDonnell ABC plan receives support from transportation construction industry

The leading organizations representing the Virginia transportation construction industry Thursday announced their support of Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to privatize the state's liquor system. Seven groups representing more than 500 companies released a statement saying that the proposal should be just one piece of a larger transportation plan for the state. "We believe the revenues from privatization represent a positive first step in building a plan for statewide transportation improvements,'' they wrote in a statement. "Doing so would enable Virginia to continue to offer a high quality of life both for its citizens and for the businesses that depend upon a modern, efficient transportation network." McDonnell has received resistance from members of both parties for his proposal, which calls for auctioning off 1,000 licenses to sell liquor. His plan would provide a one-time windfall of $458 million for transportation and recurring revenue of $229 million a year through a series...

By Anita Kumar  | September 16, 2010; 2:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, Transportation  
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McDonnell elected chairman of regional energy board

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) was elected chairman of the Southern States Energy Board Thursday at the group's annual meeting at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. "At this crucial time in our country's energy history, the South has a vital role to play in determining the best policies for keeping America's lights on, our air clean, and our citizens working,'' McDonnell said in a statement. "Identifying and enacting positive energy legislation that encourages job-creation and innovation, reduces our dependence on foreign sources and preserves our environment will be a large part of our effort." McDonnell succeeds West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) who has held this position for the past year. The board is an interstate compact, comprised of governors and state legislators from 16 southern states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Its mission is to promote economic development through innovations in energy and environmental...

By Anita Kumar  | September 16, 2010; 12:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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New lobbyists in Virginia for Ripley's, liquor interests

Look who's hired a lobbyist in Virginia, believe it or not. Ripley's Believe It Or Not, which specializes in "weird, odd and unbelievable stuff" has hired representation in Richmond. Ken Hutcheson, the former campaign manager for gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore who now works with the Williams Mullen lawfirm, registered to lobby for the company on Tuesday. His listing is among 26 new lobbyist-client relationships listed this month by the Virginia Public Access Project....

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 16, 2010; 9:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Va. Senate, House holding separate redistricting hearings

The lengthy process of drawing new legislative district lines following this fall's release of population counts from the 2010 census has gotten off to a rocky start. The Democratic-led Virginia Senate Wednesday announced that the chamber's Privileges and Elections committee will hold four public hearings about the process between October and December. But the Republican House of Delegates has already announced dates it will be holding separate public hearings. Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) has said she asked her counterpart in the House, Del. Mark Cole (R-Spotsylvania) if the two chambers could hold joint hearings but the idea was rejected by House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford)....

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 15, 2010; 5:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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New Hurt campaign ad attacks Perriello, Democratic agenda

Rep. Tom Perriello (D) is facing a double-barreled assault on the 5th district airwaves.

By Ben Pershing  | September 15, 2010; 4:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Campaign Ads, Election 2010, Robert Hurt, Tom Perriello  
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Nye, Webb push legislation to block or delay JFCOM closure

Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) pledged Wednesday to introduce a bill to stop or delay Obama administration plans to close the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, the latest salvo in the state's effort to halt the move.

By Ben Pershing  | September 15, 2010; 3:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Ben Pershing, Glenn Nye, James Webb, Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell talks politics, tea party on FOX News

In an appearance on FOX News late Tuesday, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) defended Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and talked about accepting "tea party" candidates into the party. Check out the full clip from Neil Cavuto's show below: Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com...

By Anita Kumar  | September 15, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell to speak to U.S. House Republicans

Gov. Bob McDonnell will speak to the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative U.S. House members, Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill. He plans to talk about how he ran his campaign last year and the importance of delivering on campaign pledges, said Phil Cox, McDonnell's senior adviser. McDonnell gave a similar talk to the House Republican caucus in July. Republicans, eager to duplicate McDonnell's success in November's elections, have been trying to line up the governor since his 17-point win over Democratic state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath) in November. McDonnell was supposed to speak to U.S. House Republicans in January at their annual retreat, "Winning Back America," in Baltimore, but canceled at the last minute because of the impending snowstorm....

By Anita Kumar  | September 15, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Creigh Deeds, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Accounting errors lead to payroll problems for 105 state employees in Prince William

Accounting errors at the Virginia Department of Health dating back to 2004 have resulted in payroll problems for 105 employees based in Prince William, with 51 employees receiving too much pay in recent years and 54 employees receiving too little. State officials met with affected employees Tuesday, announcing that employees and former workers who have been underpaid a total of $83,663 will receive the money in lump sum checks on Nov. 1, said Deputy Commissioner for Community Health Services Jeff Lake. Some employees were underpaid less than $10. One employee is owed $13,000. Meanwhile, state law requires that employees who were overpaid return the money, Lake said. In all, employees owe $38,625, with some owing less than $10 and one employee needing to repay $14,400. Lake said state law requires that employees repay the money over the same timeframe as they were overpaid. Employees have 30 days to decide how...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 14, 2010; 4:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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T. Boone Pickens to speak at Virginia's first energy conference

T. Boone Pickens, the Texas billionaire and oilman who has been campaigning for energy independence, will be the keynote speaker at Gov. Bob McDonnell's first energy conference next month. "It's going to take leadership, new thinking, big ideas and serious innovation to achieve greater energy independence and help transition to a more sustainable and economical energy model," Pickens said in a statement. "Conferences like this one are an important part of that effort, and I'm pleased to be a part of it." The conference, Oct. 12-14 in Richmond, will include an examination of how the energy sector is organized and operates, the latest information on state and federal regulatory activity, alternative energy projects and the energy research and development taking place at state universities. "In this global economy, we must tackle our energy needs with an 'all of the above' approach utilizing traditional, alternative, and renewable sources,'' McDonnell said. "Wind,...

By Anita Kumar  | September 14, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Some unspent Fairfax funds going to workers, schools

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to direct a sizable part of the county's unspent funds from the previous fiscal year to its employees by paying a little more of their current health-care premiums, contributing to their pensions and boosting planning staff.

By Fredrick Kunkle  | September 14, 2010; 2:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Fairfax County, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Fredrick Kunkle  
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Democrat, Republican jointly urge Arlington to drop HOT lane suit

Virginia Democratic Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Colgan (Prince William) and Republican House Speaker Bill Howell (Stafford) have jointly signed a letter begging Arlington County to drop a lawsuit claiming that construction of high-occupancy lanes on Interstate 95/395 in the county would violate the civil rights of county residents.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 14, 2010; 1:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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McDonnell headlines fundraiser for Martinez of New Mexico

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell continues his fundraising efforts for Republicans across the nation Tuesday when he headlines an event for New Mexico gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez.. The lunchtime event at Zola restaurant in the District is expected to bring in $70,000, according to Phil Cox, McDonnell's senior political adviser. Other hosts include well-know names: Ed Gillespie, former chairman of the Republican National Committee and McDonnell's former general chairman; Fred Malek, Sen. John McCain's finance chairman who now heads McDonnell's government reform commission; Bobbie Kilberg, chairwoman of the Northern Virginia Technology Council who serves on several of McDonnell's commissions; and former longtime New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici. Martinez met McDonnell when he was in Aspen this summer for the Republican Governors Association executive roundtable retreat. The two spent some time talking to get to know each other, Cox said. Martinez, district attorney for New Mexico's 3rd judicial district, won a five-way...

By Anita Kumar  | September 14, 2010; 9:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Updated: Religious coalition forms to oppose McDonnell's ABC privatization plan

The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and the Baptist General Association of Virginia announced Monday that they have formed a coalition to oppose Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to privatize the state's liquor system.

By Anita Kumar  | September 13, 2010; 6:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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RNC chair Steele to appear with Hill hopefuls Fimian, Smith

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele will make appearances with two Virginia congressional candidates Wednesday as he kicks off his "Fire Pelosi Bus Tour" in the Old Dominion State.

By Ben Pershing  | September 13, 2010; 4:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Gerald E. Connolly, Keith Fimian  
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Wilder launches blog with warning on federal spending

Former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder (D), never afraid of sharing his opinions on Virginia and national issues, began penning his own blog on Monday, designed, in his own words, to help avoid a "docile, pliant populace."

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 13, 2010; 3:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Northrop to pay $250,000 for study of August computer outage

Defense contractor Northrop Grumman has agreed to pay up to $250,000 to study why Virginia's state computer networks suffered a widespread outage at the end of August and it then took days to restore data to some state agencies, Chief Information Officer Sam Nixon told lawmakers during a briefing Monday morning. Nixon told members of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission that he was confident the figure would cover the costs of a full soup-to-nuts study of the computer outage. An initial failure of a memory card in a data storage unit housed south of Richmond knocked some processes offline at 26 of 89 state agencies. The Department of Motor Vehicles had to turn away customers for almost a week. Sam Abbate, a vice president of Northrop Grumman, which holds a $2.4 billion contract to run and modernize the state's computer network, told the delegates and senators that the...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 13, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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NRCC ad hits 'phony Perriello' on lobbyist donations

The National Republican Congressional Committee is firing back at Rep. Tom Perriello with a new ad in Virginia's 5th congressional district.

By Ben Pershing  | September 13, 2010; 12:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Robert Hurt, Tom Perriello  
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McDonnell predicts a GOP-takeover in U.S. House this fall

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) predicted Monday that Democrats in the House of Representatives will lose 35 to 50 seats this November in the mid-term elections. McDonnell said members of his party are doing a better job of addressing the economic downturn than Democrats. "It's driving a lot of independent voters to vote Republican,'' McDonnell said on his monthly call-in show on WNIS in Norfolk. "It's how I won last year." Virginia has its share of close congressional races this fall but McDonnell did not speak about any of them specifically. "I think what people are interested in are the fiscal issues that are critically important to the future of our nation,'' he said. "When you look at the $13-trillion national debt...regulations, micromanaging parts of the free enterprise system, unfunded mandates on the states, particularly this health care bill, and on and on and on...I think independent voters understand you can't...

By Anita Kumar  | September 13, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Election 2010, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Cuccinelli tells Tea Partiers AGs are 'last resort' against feds

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) was nominated for his office in the spring of 2009 by supporters waving yellow "Don't Tread on Me" flags, the symbol of the Tea Party movement that was then in its infancy. He keeps one of the flags in his Richmond office, next to the flag of Virginia. So it's little surprise that he addressed the Tea Party's 9/12 rally on the Washington mall Sunday. In brief but emotional remarks, Cuccinelli said King George III and the British respected the liberties of colonists more than Democrats now respect the rights of citizens. And he vowed to use his office and the courts to beat back the federal government, notably through his lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care law. A federal judge declined to dismiss that suit in July. Cuccinelli and lawyers for the Obama administration are submitting new legal briefs on...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | September 13, 2010; 8:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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