Hoping to give another boost to McAuliffe’s surging campaign for Virginia governor, Clinton heaped praise on his friend and political ally as the two met with supporters inside a crowded school gym in Fairfax County.
The standing-room-only appearance before about 500 people at Herndon Middle School was part of a four-day swing through Virginia by McAuliffe and the former president that is meant to persuade more voters to turn out on Election Day — a crucial factor in an off-year election, when turnout is often low.
Clinton picked up where he left off in other appearances around the state by portraying McAuliffe as a job creator who is able to reach across the political aisle. Clinton described Cuccinelli as an obstructionist focused on his ideology and a member of a party focused on division.
“I know when you elect him as governor of Virginia a week from tomorrow, half the people who voted against him a week from tomorrow will wonder what they were thinking,” Clinton said of McAuliffe. “He is a good man.”
At an appearance at Liberty University earlier in the day, Paul went further, casting the upcoming vote in dire terms: He warned of a coming dystopia in which abortion and DNA testing could be used to weed out people with disabilities.
McAuliffe responded by telling a crowd at Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus that Cuccinelli has been a skeptic of science. The Democrat reminded the audience of his opponent’s efforts, as the state’s attorney general, to obtain documents from a University of Virginia climate researcher.
Earlier, perhaps 400 people packed a ballroom at the Waterford beside the Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax County to greet Cuccinelli and Paul, who is a hero to many tea party members and libertarians. His appearance was aimed at shoring up support among voters who may be leaning toward supporting Libertarian Party candidate Robert Sarvis, even as a new Washington Post-Abt SRBI poll showed McAuliffe expanding his lead over Cuccinelli.
Paul received an enthusiastic round of applause as he introduced Cuccinelli as a defender of civil liberties, including the rights to bear arms and to a trial by jury.
“In our country, the entire Bill of Rights is under assault,” Paul said. “We need champions, and you need a governor who will stand up against an overbearing and overzealous government. Ken Cuccinelli is the one to do it.”
Paul praised Cuccinelli for being the first state attorney general to file suit to try to block President Obama’s health-care law, and he called attention to Cuccinelli’s work to free Thomas Haynesworth, who spent 27 years in a Virginia prison before DNA tests proved that he had been wrongly convicted.