The Washington Post

Latest Cuccinelli ad pushes populist message

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II unveiled the latest ad in his bid for Virginia governor Monday, a positive, policy-focused spot amid a campaign that has been marked by negativity and sharp attacks between him and Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

Cuccinelli’s ad, titled “Opportunity,” features the Republican nominee speaking directly to the camera about how he’ll “fight to make sure everybody has a fair shot,” continuing a populist theme he has been pushing on the campaign trail.

“In America, we say everybody has an equal opportunity,” Cuccinelli says. “But for many Virginians, it’s just not true. ... As governor, I’ll work to make it right. No child should be sentenced to a failing school just because of where they live. Our tax code should encourage middle-class families and small businesses, not reward the powerful and well-connected. Special interests shouldn’t get special treatment.”

The ad comes as Cuccinelli launches what his campaign calls the “Putting Virginians First Tour.” He will be visiting a series of homeless shelters and other nonprofit groups as he seeks to convey a softer, more compassionate image.

Cuccinelli has portrayed himself as the ally of average Virginians while tarring McAuliffe as someone who has relied on political connections and wealthy donors to advance his career. Democrats have scoffed at that notion, suggesting Cuccinelli has done the bidding of oil companies and conservative interest groups.

“Ken Cuccinelli claims he wants everyone to have an equal opportunity,” said McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin, “but that rings hollow while he is helping an out-of-state energy company that gave him $100,000 in their fight against Virginia landowners and while he is proposing a massive tax cut for the wealthiest that will make devastating cuts to education and hurt middle income Virginians.”

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