Washington (CNN) – Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman who sought the Virginia governorship last year and could do so again in 2013, has some choice words for Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli when it comes to health care reform.
McDonnell signed a bill Wednesday to bar the federal government from forcing state residents to purchase health insurance. Cuccinelli has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration arguing that the health care bill's mandate that individuals purchase insurance violates Virginia law.
Both Republicans, McAuliffe told CNN, "are playing a divisive game of politics that hurts Virginia families and clearly hurts and affects the health care of millions of Virginians."
"This is all bogus," he said in a phone interview. "It's nothing more than pure politics. These lawsuits will not be successful. This is more about playing to their own political base."
McAuliffe predicted that voters will warm to health care reform now that a single piece of legislation has been signed into law and the benefits can be clearly explained. Health care reform, he said, will provide prescription drug coverage to millions of seniors, cut the federal deficit and give tax credits to small businesses in Virginia. The law will "turbo-charge the economy," he added.
"This bill will literally benefit millions and millions of Virginians, and here we have the governor and the attorney general of Virginia filing a frivolous lawsuit," he said. "It's crazy."
Looking ahead to the midterm elections, McAuliffe said "Republicans have made strategic and tactical error, going against what Americans want, and I think they are going to pay a price for it."
Since he came up short last summer in his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, McAuliffe hasn't shied away from dabbling in Virginia politics. Last month, he submitted a bid to purchase a soon-to-be-shuttered paper plant in Franklin, saying he wanted to save the plant's jobs by converting it into a biomass energy facility. Over the weekend, he appeared at the state Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Richmond.
Asked about his political future, McAuliffe left the door open to running for governor again.
"We'll see where we are in three years," he said. "Three years is a long way off, and a lot can happen in three years. Right now I am traveling the state, going to JJ Dinners all over the state. But my focus right now is trying to do what I talked about when I was running for governor, creating jobs, green jobs. I didn't have to be governor to do the things I talked about. I have been active in the private sector."