April 2nd, 2009
05:00 PM ET
12 years ago

Terry McAuliffe not laughing at Huckabee joke

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/17/art.huckabee.gi.jpg caption="Huckabee said Republicans should let the air out of Democrats' tires on election day."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Terry McAuliffe, the jovial former chairman of the Democratic National Committee now running for governor in Virginia, is not laughing at one of Mike Huckabee's jokes.

During a recent appearance on behalf of Bob McDonnell - the Republican candidate for governor - Huckabee wisecracked that if McDonnell's supporters bump into someone who isn't planning on voting for the Republican, they should "let the air out of their tires and do not let them out of their driveway on election day."

The joke is a Huckabee favorite: he recited it countless times at campaign stops nationwide during his failed bid to win the Republican nomination in 2007 and 2008.

Nevertheless, McAuliffe - who made more than a few surrogate appearances of his own on behalf of Bill and Hillary Clinton - is accusing of Huckabee of inciting "voter suppression."

"Let's be clear," he said in a statement. "There are no jokes to be made about denying people the right to vote in this country. It's not a laughing matter. This is a right that people fought and died for, so as public figures, we must be sure that we are setting the standard."

McAuliffe, who has made a point of highlighting his creation of a voting rights institute when he led the DNC, accused McDonnell of "standing by silently as Mike Huckabee encourages his supporters to suppress the vote."

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin brushed off the McAuliffe criticism.

"Virginians are losing their jobs, unemployment is at its highest point in 17 years, and Chairman McAuliffe spends his afternoon feigning outrage over a lighthearted political joke by somebody not even on the ballot in Virginia," Martin said. "This attack demonstrates a complete lack of perspective and seriousness. Chairman McAuliffe clearly has no clue what Virginians are going through, and how tough times are."

Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Mike Huckabee • Terry McAuliffe
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