With portions of the Affordable Care Act set to kick in next week, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II’s campaign for Virginia governor is airing its first ad explicitly aimed at the health-reform measure.
The ad, titled “Obamacare,” focuses on Cuccinelli’s (R) long-standing opposition to President Obama’s signature legislation while blaming foe Terry McAuliffe (D) for the measure’s perceived faults.
“March 23, 2010: Obamacare is signed into law,” the ad’s announcer says. “Minutes later, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli files suit in federal court to stop it. Terry McAuliffe supported ObamaCare, costing middle class families thousands, killing Virginia jobs, limiting access to our doctors.
“And to pay for it, Terry McAuliffe would break Virginia’s budget. Terry McAuliffe: A deeply unserious candidate.”
Cuccinelli has long touted his battle against the health-care law in court, spending much of his book “The Last Line of Defense” describing the fight. (Cuccinelli’s lawsuit was dismissed by a federal appeals court, while a separate challenge filed by other GOP attorneys general reached the Supreme Court.) But the issue has not been a focus of his message on the airwaves until now, with health exchanges due to open for enrollment Oct. 1.
McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin did not address the substance of Cuccinelli’s ad but sought to tie it to the ongoing battle on Capitol Hill — including among Republicans — over whether a bill to keep the government running should also cut funding for the health-care law.
“Ken Cuccinelli last night refused to condemn the threat of a government shutdown as a bargaining chip to push an ideological agenda,” Schwerin said. “He has focused his career on fighting divisive ideological battles and is about to bring Senator Ted Cruz, the leader of the shutdown movement, to Virginia. It’s time for Ken Cuccinelli to stop focusing on divisive ideological battles and start acting in the best interest of the Commonwealth.”
At their debate Wednesday night in Fairfax, Cuccinelli did not take an explicit position on the Capitol Hill fight, but appeared to suggest that Republicans should drop their defunding demand.
“Well, I’d like to see Obamacare pulled out of federal law, but, you know, we’ve gotta keep moving forward and make compromises to get the budget going,” Cuccinelli said.