“Let me be plain, the law that carries the president’s name is the hallmark of a reckless federal government that has lost its way,” Cuccinelli said in Saturday’s address.
Cuccinelli — who trails Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor’s race with about two weeks to go before Election Day — went all in with the sort of talk that made him a hero to tea party enthusiasts and other believers in limited government. He noted that he was the first of 27 state attorneys general to challenge the law’s constitutionality. He went on to catalog what he says is a gap between Obamacare’s sunny promises and the glitch-marred rollout that began Oct. 1 with the opening of the online government insurance markets. And he blamed the law for suffocating the economy, saying that rather than the prosperity its proponents promised, it would create mostly part-time jobs.
“Everywhere you look, there’s more evidence that Obamacare was fundamentally broken even before it started,” Cuccinelli said.
McAuliffe’s campaign characterized Cuccinelli's message as more of the same from a polarizing candidate.
“After Cuccinelli sided with Washington tea party Republicans to oppose reopening the government, it’s no surprise they asked him to carry their divisive message,” McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin said in an e-mail. “Virginia needs a governor who is more concerned with Virginia’s economy than with his reputation with the Tea Party and D.C. Republicans.”
In a race that has featured sharp character attacks by both candidates, the federal health-care law is an issue that clearly defines their differing views. McAuliffe supports the law and has tied much of his agenda to Virginia’s possible expansion of Medicaid under its terms, while Cuccinelli has opposed it at every turn.
In his party’s response to the president’s weekly address, Cuccinelli used the national platform to cast himself as a politician willing to stand up for “first principles” against a federal government that is “eating away at our liberty and crushing opportunity.”
There is no better example of that overreach, he said, than the health-care law.
“Obamacare represents one of the largest and most reckless expansions of government in the more than 200-year history of our nation,” Cuccinelli said.
“I believe it’s an affront to the freedoms and liberties our founding fathers fought to establish on our behalf. I’m proud to say many of those heroes were Virginians, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry,” he said. “Because I believed Obamacare was an affront to our liberty, I stood up.”
Cuccinelli criticized the law’s impact on businesses and other institutions and discussed problems with the law’s launch.