September 3rd, 2009
01:35 PM ET
5 years ago

McDonnell plans to restore the 'dark ages,' ad claims

Bob McDonnell is the target of a new radio ad.
Bob McDonnell is the target of a new radio ad.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – For the fifth consecutive day, the Creigh Deeds campaign continued to hammer Republican rival Bob McDonnell's controversial master's thesis, a document that called working women detrimental to families and criticized "cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators."

The campaign launched a Web site and a new radio ad on Thursday taking aim at McDonnell over the 20-year-old paper.

The radio spot - running in populous northern Virginia, home to the bulk of the state's moderate and independent voters - features a man and a woman chatting about the Virginia governor's race.

"You starting to follow this governor's race in Virginia?" a female voice asks.

"You mean Bob McDonnell and his plans to take us back to the dark ages?" a man responds.

The pair then rattle through a number of points McDonnell made in the research paper, including critical passages about contraception and a claim that child care tax credits harm families because they allow women to work. Calling the thesis McDonnell's "blueprint" for governing, the ad notes that McDonnell voted against a 2001 House bill that would have recognized equal pay for men and women.

The ad, however, makes a misleading claim: That McDonnell wrote the thesis when he was "months away" from serving in office. In reality, he wrote it two years before his first election to the House of Delegates in 1991.

The ad also seeks to highlight McDonnell's ties to Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, a top donor who has hosted McDonnell on his show "The 700 Club." McDonnell attended graduate school at Robertson's Regent University, but the ad refers to the school as CBN University - as in "Christian Broadcasting Network" - the university's name in 1989 when McDonnell wrote his thesis.

In 2007, McDonnell said his four years at Regent taught him "the real importance of being a Christian elected official" and that that school gave him "a great understanding of the limited role of government and the important roles of the church and the family and the other institutions in society, and what happens if government tries to take on those roles and can often make a mess."

McDonnell has said many of his views - particularly on working women - have changed since writing the paper.

Tucker Martin, a spokesman for McDonnell, said their campaign is focusing on "the serious issues facing Virginians," like jobs, education and transportation.

"Creigh can run on former presidents, former governors and decades old student papers," Martin said in an e-mail. "The voters can then decide who is actually focused on helping Virginians in the years ahead."

UPDATE: This post has been corrected to show that McDonnell was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1991, not 1992 as the story originally said.


Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Creigh Deeds • Virginia
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. big papa

    Bob McDonnel (like all conservatives0 is an unevolved, social Neanderthal...

    ...he has no place in public life...

    ...he sounds like he should have his daughters and wife in a cave somewhere...

    ...and Republicans love him...

    ...what does that say about them?

    September 3, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. single mom

    Let's see Creigh's papers from school. How much have HIS views changed in 20 years?
    Actually, I would hope a leader's views would grow and adjust, even slightly, to the changing world around them.
    It sounds like McDonnell's have.

    And it sounds like Creigh's ad flat out lies and deliberately misleads voters. In the current atmosphere, that's is not a good idea.

    September 3, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. Tom L

    So, Democrats, you're going to slam this guy for writing a thesis paper when he was 20 yet you have no issues with Van Jones – another of the many "czars" for President Obama – and his crass comments just months ago?

    September 3, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. Craig in VA

    Obama has much more controversial views.... he became president. So I don't see why this cat couldn't become governor.

    September 3, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. A. Goodwin

    That's great that McDonnell wants to focus on jobs and education, but his thesis will sink him like the Titanic! Its one thing to write a thesis in your early 20's...when life is typically footloose and fancy free – but this man was in his 30's when he wrote it. I truly believe you know who you are as a person by the time you are 30...you know what you stand far and what you dont. For McDonnell, he obviously does not stand far women, gays, younger generations, people who are NOT regious. Basically, everything the neocon conservatives believe in (some of which they will not admit).

    Sorry – but McDonnell WILL bring people into the dark ages. More of the same from the party of NO!

    September 3, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. Amber in Orlando

    This guy should be put in front of a firing squad. Anyone who thinks like that, doesn't change their opinions in matter of a decade or two. It just doesn't happen that way. I would bet my life that he still harbors these feelings.

    September 3, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. alpha_nu_916

    what's relevant is that the paper was written when mcdonnell was 34 years old. it would be one thing if mcdonnell was 20 when he wrote this paper, with many year left to shape his ideology, but it is entirely another animal when he is well into adulthood.
    as far as his ideas, how many families can afford the luxery of a single-income? and how is cohabitation ruining america? and is mcdonnell now accepting of same sex couples, going as far to support domestic partnerships?

    September 3, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. Libertarian

    Guess Repubs never thought about bad Karma when they tried to link Obama (morally and politically) with someone who he was in the same room with ONCE about 20 years ago.

    This guy DOCUMENTED his base belief system. Ouch!

    September 3, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  9. Bob Of Lompoc

    Any "friend" of Pat Robertson is no friend of mine. Never, ever vote for anyone supported by Robertson. This man is a "Religious" leader ? Jaysus !

    September 3, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. Kevin Denver Colorado

    A grown man with this kind of ridiculous crap rolling around in his head is a candidate for forced sterilization in my book.
    Ben Franklin- an extreme moderate

    September 3, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  11. Willy Brown

    here come CNN and the Media banging the drum for Deeds. To bad Tim Kiane screwed Deeds of any chance of elected office.

    September 3, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. Shucks

    McDonnell's core beliefs are the republicans core philosophy. Who in America didn't know this. We see it and hear it everyday. It's not anything new. And if they say it's not, they are lying. Hence the last election. They would deport everyone except right wing christian evangelicals, which is their most vocal and monetary base. Are we not lucky to have them in America.

    September 3, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. Kevin in Ohio

    The Dark Ages are what we are already approaching if we let Obama socialism prevail. With Obama, ready your hammers and sickles.

    September 3, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  14. Greg

    "Taliban Bob McDonnell in 09: cause he thinks it's OK for the womenfolk to work now!"

    September 3, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. Pragmatic

    A 34 year old man writes a 93 page thesis which advocates government meddling in all areas of people's lives + the comments that basically state women should be pregnant in summer and barefoot in winter. This is no callow youth and I doubt he has truly changed his core values.

    The GOP fastened on one statement by Sotomayor – ignoring her 17 record of real decisions on the bench. Now we are asked to ignore what McDonnell wrote. Sauce for the goose = sauce for the gander!

    September 3, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. Tom in Wisconsin

    Said it before...will say it again...Theocracy: truly the nail in America's coffin.

    September 3, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |