The Washington Post

Ads hit Cuccinelli on immigration, schools

RICHMOND — Virginia’s Democratic Party launched a Spanish-language television ad attacking Republican’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II’s stance on immigration Monday, as Democrat Terry McAuliffe released his own commercial claiming that Cuccinelli would cut funding to public schools.

The party’s ad, paid for in part by People for the American Way, plays off Cuccinelli’s criticism of a District law on pest-control, which he claimed prevented the killing of rats.

“It is worse than our immigration policy,” Cuccinelli said in an interview in 2012. “You can’t break up rat families ... and you can’t even kill ’em.”

Titled “Que Tipo De Persona,” or “What Type of Person,” the ad recalls those words and suggests that Cuccinelli was comparing immigrants to rats.

“What type of person would say that?” a narrator asks in Spanish. “A person we just can’t trust.”

Republican Party spokesman Garren Shipley said the ad misrepresents Cuccinelli’s comment.

“This ad takes Ken’s remarks completely out of context and turns their meaning on its head,” Shipley said. “He was talking about how disturbing it was that our laws treat rats better than people because our laws let us break up immigrant families.

“The fact that Virginia Democrats would issue such a misleading, reprehensible ad just speaks to the fact that their candidate has nothing to offer Virginia’s immigrant communities, while Ken Cuccinelli has spent his career fighting to protect Virginians of all origins from the very real dangers of human trafficking, improving schools, and making sure our streets are safe.”

The McAuliffe campaign’s ad, titled “Schools,” says that Cuccinelli would take funding from public schools and give it to private ones.

“As governor, where would Ken Cuccinelli take his extreme agenda? Our schools,” it begins. “Cuccinelli’s education plan would take money away from public schools ... to fund private schools instead. Local communities would face a choice: lay off teachers and increase class sizes or raise property taxes.”

The McAuliffe campaign bases that claim, in part, on a Cuccinelli campaign press release that said he would “legalize state funding of private schools and give parents the power to petition the state to convert a failing school into a charter school.”

The campaign attributes the claims about higher property taxes or cuts to schools to the $1.4 billion tax cut that Cuccinelli has proposed, suggesting that localities would either have to find a way to make up for the lost revenue or slash school funding. When McAuliffe made similar allegations in September, the Washington Post’s Fact Checker awarded them three Pinocchios, in part because Cuccinelli has said he would close unspecified tax loopholes to make up for the tax cuts.

“Terry McAuliffe’s claim that Ken Cuccinelli’s policies would take money away from schools or raise taxes has been proven false by multiple fact check organizations,” Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix said. “It says everything you need to know about Terry McAuliffe that he would be willing to air an ad he knows to be blatantly false. The fact is, Ken Cuccinelli is the only candidate who is focused on ensuring every Virginia child, no matter where they are from, has the opportunity to receive a quality education.”

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.



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