WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democrat Creigh Deeds looked to shake up the Virginia governor's race Friday with a new television advertisement and a speech aimed at rallying independents and Democrats who have so far been less than enthusiastic about the campaign.
A Washington Post poll released last weekend showed Deeds trailing Republican Bob McDonnell by 15 points among likely voters. While the poll showed independents leaning heavily towards McDonnell, it also showed that relatively few voters are familiar with the candidates and their positions at this point in the race.
In an address at George Mason University in Fairfax County - the most populous county in the commonwealth - Deeds tried to define McDonnell as a divisive social conservative who supported the economic policies of former President George W. Bush.
Highlighting McDonnell's positions against stem cell research and abortion rights, Deeds said his opponent makes "division and personal crusades the priority over the common good."
"This is my opponent's record," Deeds said. "This single-minded crusade has been his priority and focus. He believes that his social agenda should come before sound public policy, and his record, his career in politics, reflects it."
McDonnell has tried to appeal to moderates and pro-business interests in Virginia by making the race about federal issues and President Obama's economic agenda, claiming that Deeds supports an energy tax, "socialized medicine" and greater influence for labor unions.
On Friday, Deeds tried to make the race about Virginia issues - particularly transportation, education, and tax credits for small businesses that create jobs. The goal: to remind voters of the successes of the last two Democratic governors, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, who remain relatively popular in the state.
The Deeds campaign also released a new television ad featuring Warner, with a narrator proclaiming that Deeds will "keep Virginia moving forward with the pro-business economic policies Mark Warner put in place, and not go backwards by embracing the failed economic policies of George W. Bush." The ad will run statewide, but not in the expensive northern Virginia media market.
"Creigh is really going to drive this contrast that McDonnell is just an unacceptable alternative, and we can't afford that," said a Deeds adviser. "Right now the dialogue has been focused on this national environment, and this is a way to break through that a discussion, and say there is a lot at stake here in Virginia."
The adviser called it "a re-framing speech." But the Republican Governors Association quickly released a statement with the subject line: "Deeds tries to press reset, misses."
"It's commonly known that the best time to dump bad news is on Fridays during the summer," RGA spokesman Mike Schrimpf said. "Apparently, Creigh Deeds also thinks it's the best time to make no news."
UPDATE: McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said Deeds is "trying to bring back old time wedge politics to tear Virginians apart."
That was the most backwards looking speech ever given by a Virginia gubernatorial nominee," Martin said. "If Creigh Deeds thinks blowing the dust off an old political playbook amounts to a major new announcement, he doesn't get what the voters of Virginia are looking for in their next governor."
Change is coming, the wind is blowing against DEMOCRAPS.
The problem here is I don't trust McDonnell at all – he looks like a cookie cutter of a typical washington politician. The hair, the suits, the rhetoric....
Deeds needs to tell us why to vote FOR him. If he is dumping on his opponent this early, he's already lost.
The last thing Virginia needs is another Democrat trying to raise taxes and over-govern. I lived in Virginia for three years and couldn't get out fast enough. That was state of mind of pretty much everyone else I knew (unless they moved to Virginia to get away from the liberal governments in DC or Maryland.)
I certainly hope Virginians will say no to McDonnell. It would be a shame to turn the state over to Rick Perry Jr.
McDonnell needs to tie Deeds to Obama. That should be enough in Virginial at this time.
Virginia is for lovers,not fear mongers like the deep south and their faux christians.
The most fundamental factor for me is that rampant competition is an Exclusive business. Since this is the cornerstone of capitalism, I do not see any shifts in the dominant paradigm. Until we all sit down with Ethical Leaders of Integrity, we will see our collective fate worsening as time is getting shorter. In a world I envision, tobacco companies divest to heal everyone from capitalistic profiteering in genocide. This list is endless. As Don Miguel Ruiz says in
"The Four Agreements", "We are perpetuating a DreM OF THE pLANET..." WHICH IS NOT CONDUCIVE TO LIFE. WE NEED TO BE SHIFTING OUR PARADIGMS TO SUSTAINABLE POLICIES. This wil never happen until we get away from these ego games for supremacy and control. Elementary for me, but so many let the pursuit of money be a substitute for happiness for all living beings. May peace prevail. This political posturing is counterproductive for change or even any kind of solution.
Considering I live in Virginia I may know a little about this. You can try and tie Deeds to Obama but then all Deeds needs to do is tie himself to Warner and make it clear that this is about the Commonwealth, NOT the federal government. Warner was a wildly popular Governor who is only not the Governor right now because of Virginia's goofy term limits (no consecutive terms). Most people think Tim Kaine is doing a good job so as long as Deeds keeps the conversation focused on the Commonwealth he should be able to win.
Make McDonnell out to be someone who has no ideas, who knows so well he can't win if the Commonwealth remains issue and people will view him as weak.
I hope Deed's campaing reads this. I gaurantee victory.
What's new? Its the same old vitriolic politics of the GOP. What's amusing is that the GOP has not learned a single thing since their 08-butt-kicking!
Hate, lies, fear & division backfire on them every time, but that's all they've got!
If there are any smart peolpe in VIRGINA, WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!,WE don't need any more REPLUBICRAPS ,filling their pockets with our money. they've done enought damages. But then there are those who just can't see the light no matter how much they go to chruch, because they listen to FOX NEWS. the boggie channel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111
Deeds needs to tie McDonnell to Bush/Cheney, and the likes of Perry, Palin, Jindal, and Pawlenty as to what republican governor leadership really means.
This whole vacation thing should be on SNL. Geo. Bush spent a month at a time on vacation when in office. That's where he was when Katrina hit and it took him days to figure out what to do. Pres. Obama will have a week off and GNOTEP, that's the Grand No to Everything Party, has the gall to spend millions of dollars criticizing it. They make me absolutely sick.
If they put a Republican in (and I feel this way about anyone who votes Republican after what Gingrich/Delay/Bush/Cheney/Reagan did to us) deserves whatever they get.
So Deeds thinks the key is to run against George Bush. I wonder if Democrats will still be trying that tactic in, say, 2016 or 2020?
stocks are up. where are those vocal right wingers now they didn't mind harping about it when it was down. it will me the same when the dems prove them wrong not only in employment. economy. and health care. Obama. will suceed dispite all the nastiness from the far right
Why shouldn't conservatives have the upper hand with Twitter? It's all about small, badly spelled words, incomplete sentences, and lack of content.
Our beloved Commonwealth can't get Bob McDonnell elected soon enough. Scarey what's going on here under the libs. It's like the mean kid in class strung up the teacher and instructed the class we're doing it my way!
Lord help us....
You mean the same state Virginia that was named best state for business? The same state that took the number one spot from the republican mecca of Texas? The same state that's been under dem control for how long??? The same state with the top public school district in the country. Yeah the gems did a horrible job didn't they? Wake up repugs, your party is over! Hahaha
Can the republicans come up with anything more witty than "democraps"? How do you expect to be taken seriously?
I'm a Virginia democrat and I will be supporting Deeds. I really don't understand why non-dems have to revert to such illogical attacks. Try to be constructive. Its so amazing to me that people are this whacky.
UNBELIEVABLE! Conservatives – or at least this recent crop of conservatives, who give the word "conservative" a TERRIBLE name – are just complete unbelievable. Let me see if I understand this .... while health care truly needs significant modification in the areas of (a) provisioning and (b) cost containment, these people are spending money attacking a guy for taking a short period of time off? Do these clowns want us to emulate the Japanese "work until you die" ethic from the '80's and '90's?
Also, where were these people when Bush was taking his RECORD amounts of vacation while the country was in a state of perpetual crisis during his administration?
I grew up in a pretty conservative, Republican household. There is no way I will ever associate myself with what that movement and that party has allowed itself to become.
Anyone reading this may think, "No great loss for the Republican Party". Just FYI, I'm white, college-educated, earn six figures, and have four young adult children who are also progressive-minded ... having watched conservative hate antics their entire lives.
"Virginia is for lovers,not fear mongers like the deep south and their faux christians." Wow – what a great quote! Really a strong argument for voting for a candidate!
Not being from the deep south I'm not sure how the people there will vote. From where I live we wonder WHY the people there keep voting for what is called "ultra right wing conservatives." I'm a Christian and I really feel in my heart these people are being so decieved. These so called leaders are following those who are not serving our Lord but themselves and the god of money.
@Real Christians? August 21st, 2009 12:49 pm ET
Virginia is for lovers,not fear mongers like the deep south and their faux christians
Is it really up to you to determine whose a fake christian or not? I don't think so!
Republicans should link Deeds to Barack Obama and his failed policies. Clunkers project now put so many Americans in debt while they had no debt when they were driving their old cars. It is same as Fannie mae and Freddie Mac which was created by Bill Clinton and that project as well put Americans into debt and thus economic collapse. Democrats are trying to blame GOP and George W. Bush but reality is different. Deeds should know that. Virginians, do not elect democrats to your offices. They do not deserve it. They are spending money which we do not have.