Political messaging is often about repetition, and Terry McAuliffe has taken that lesson to heart: For the second day in a row, the Democrat’s campaign for governor released a new ad calling foe Ken Cuccinelli II “too extreme for Virginia.”
Wednesday’s spot focused on comments by Cuccinelli (R), the state attorney general, suggesting that America would face “judgment” because of its abortion policies. The ad McAuliffe released Thursday takes on a wider range of topics. The script:
“Woman 1: I’m very troubled by Ken Cuccinelli
Woman 2: He tried to change Virginia’s divorce laws
Woman 3: to prevent women from getting out of a bad marriage
Man 1: Ken Cuccinelli denies climate change exists
Man 2: And he used taxpayer dollars to investigate a U-Va. professor doing research
Woman 4: And Cuccinelli tried to ban common forms of birth control
Woman 5: Even the pill
Woman 6: Even the pill
Man 3: Ken Cuccinelli is just way too extreme
Woman 7: Way too extreme
Man 1: Way too extreme
Woman 1: Way too extreme for Virginia.”
The ad strings together a series of issues that have sparked controversy, in some cases reaching conclusions that the Cuccinelli campaign argues are wrong.
“Terry McAuliffe continues to recycle false attacks to scare Virginians in an effort to distract from the fact he profited off of the terminally ill patients,” said Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix. “The charges lobbed in this ad have been proven false by multiple fact-checking organizations, yet McAuliffe will stop at nothing in his smear campaign.”
The ad refers to a 2008 bill backed by Cuccinelli in the Senate that would have prevented married couples with children from obtaining a no-fault divorce if one spouse objected. Technically the bill would have made it harder for both sexes to get out of a marriage — not just women — though the issue has been a particular priority for groups that promote fathers’ rights.
(For the record, a previous McAuliffe ad on the same divorce bill was rated “Half True” by PolitiFact and was given “One Pinocchio” by The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, meaning that it contained “some omissions [ie, Cuccinelli’s bill was not aimed only at women] but no outright falsehoods.”)
The ad’s references to birth control relates to Cuccinelli’s support for “personhood” legislation, which would declare that “life begins at fertilization.” Some medical groups have said such a bill could lead to the prohibition of some forms of birth control, and The Post’s Fact Checker has written that although Cuccinelli “might not have specifically sought to ban contraception, that likely would have been the practical effect of the bill he co-sponsored.”
Cuccinelli has said he would not seek to regulate contraception or legislate on it if he is elected governor.
The ad also highlights the attorney general’s investigation into Michael Mann, a former University of Virginia climate researcher. Mann and his allies have accused Cuccinelli of going on a “witch hunt” against the scientist because Cuccinelli disagreed with his views on global warming. Cuccinelli has said he was probing whether Mann had manipulated data to obtain government grants.