The Washington Post

Ads target McAuliffe’s memoir

Ken Cuccinelli II’s gubernatorial campaign released two Internet video ads Wednesday that use Terry McAuliffe’s memoir to try to prove he is insensitive to women and a quid-pro-quo politician.

The ads, which the Republican’s campaign is paying to pop up on Web sites in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, are based on a 2007 book by the prodigious fund-raiser and longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, “What A Party!: My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators, and Other Wild Animals.”

One of the ads, titled “Terry’s Woman Problem,” shows the former Democratic National Committee chairman chuckling in an interview over how he left his crying wife and newborn son in the car on the way home from the hospital so he could stop at a fund-raiser. The 80-second spot also features McAuliffe reading that account for the audio version of his book.

“We got to the dinner and by then, Dorothy was in tears,” he says. “And I left her and went inside. And Dorothy just sat there. I felt bad for Dorothy. But it was a million bucks for the Democratic Party. Nobody ever said life with me was gonna be easy.”

The ad is an effort to turn the tables on McAuliffe, who has accused Cuccinelli of being hostile to women because of his opposition to abortion.

The second ad also features audio from the book. Titled “Guilty,” it focuses on McAuliffe’s accounts of wheeling and dealing in politics and in business.

“Now let me tell you, it’s a lot easier to raise money for a governor,” McAuliffe says. “They have all kinds of business to hand out — road contracts, construction jobs, you name it.”

The ad also includes audio of McAuliffe, presumably in an interview, saying: “If the worst thing you can say about me is, ‘Terry McAuliffe has done business with people he’ s met through politics,’ so be it. I plead guilty.”

The words “insider deals” and “selling access” flash across the screen.

“Instead of explaining his extreme agenda of opposing the Violence Against Women Act and trying to make common forms of birth control illegal, Ken Cuccinelli responds to serious policy criticism by dragging his opponent’s family into a political attack,” said McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin. “Political desperation and a desire to avoid talking about his own extreme record is no excuse for Cuccinelli’s ugly gutter politics.”

Democrats have tried to make an issue of a book published by Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general, earlier this year, “The Last Line of Defense: The New Fight for American Liberty.” It recounts his battles against “Obamacare” and other examples of “federal overreach.”

Democratic legislators staged a dramatic reading of the book on Capitol Square in February, mocking Cuccinelli’s contention that government programs breed dependency and his criticism of public swimming pools, which the attorney general argues the private sector should supply.

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.



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