“I am just not going to defend my running mates’ statements at every turn,” he said in an interview. “They’ve got to explain those themselves. Part of this process is just letting Virginia voters get comfortable with us, on an individual basis, personally.”
Activists who gathered in Virginia Beach said they could not be more pleased with the ticket.
“Bishop [Jackson] really set the convention hall on fire,” said Tanya Arney, 37, of Virginia Beach. “He is a great energizer.”
On Sunday evening, more than 100 GOP loyalists greeted the candidates at the Fairfax County Republican Committee headquarters.
Among them was Pete Snyder, who had lost his bid for the lieutenant governor nomination to Jackson. Snyder was holding a Jackson sign overhead — a symbol, Cuccinelli told the crowd, of the kind of unity Republicans hope to maintain as the campaign gets underway.
Cuccinelli reminded the group of his roots in Fairfax and the importance of a grass-roots campaign there to win in a pep talk that made no mention of social issues or abortion.
“I’m not doing anything different today than I did yesterday or a month ago or six months ago,” Cuccinelli told reporters. “I believe all the same things that I have for a long time. But when you talk to voters about what they care about, the main issue we’ve got to address effectively is job creation.”
Democrats made it clear that they view the GOP ticket as too extreme.
“We cannot allow these fanatics to take office,” Cesar del Aguila, who heads the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, said in a statement Sunday. He said Cuccinelli and the others hew to the “extreme right” on gun control, health care, immigration and women’s rights.