May 14th, 2009
05:00 AM ET
14 years ago

Bill Clinton: Terry McAuliffe 'born to lead' Virginia

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="Bill Clinton is helping former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe campaign for governor in Virginia."]HERNDON, Virginia (CNN) - To hear Bill Clinton tell it, Terry McAuliffe is destined to become the 71st governor of the commonwealth of Virginia.

“He was born to lead at this moment,” Clinton said of McAuliffe at a campaign rally in northern Virginia on Wednesday. It was the former president’s third appearance on behalf of his friend and longtime political ally, who is now in the final weeks of a tough three-way primary battle for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

The winner of that contest will face Republican Bob McDonnell, the state’s former attorney general, in the general election.

Clinton praised McAuliffe from all angles, making sure to plug the former Democratic National Committee chairman’s apparent mastery of Virginia issues. McAuliffe has struggled with the perception that he’s a newcomer to Virginia politics, while his two Democratic rivals have labored in the trenches of state government for more than a decade.

The former president even said that if every child were raised as McAuliffe’s five children were, “this country would have about half the problems it’s got.”

Clinton and McAuliffe made their pitch to about 200 voters at a park in the northern Virginia town of Herndon, standing on a stage just downwind of a ripe-smelling pig sty. They held a second, larger rally later in the day a few miles away in the Washington suburb of Annandale.

Clinton stressed that if elected, McAuliffe will be “socially progressive” but also fiscally responsible. “Everyone knows that this guy raised a lot of money for me,” Clinton said. “What I want you to know, every nickel he raised, he also talked to me about how to be careful spending it.”

He also said that McAuliffe has the work ethic to help President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan achieve its goals.

“I think it was a good package and I supported it,” Clinton said of the president’s $787 billion stimulus bill. “But how well it works will vary from state to state, depending on the leadership the vision and the ability to follow through of the governor.”

The candidate himself spoke after Clinton and outlined his plans for renewable energy, transportation, education and job creation. He promised to bring a fresh perspective to the state house in Richmond.

McAuliffe said McDonnell - who is framing himself as pragmatic, solutions-oriented conservative - has “an ideological agenda” and criticized him for having campaigned with national Republicans like John McCain and Rudy Giuliani.

“They just announced they’re bringing Sarah Palin in,” he added, a claim that drew boos from the audience.

However, a spokesman for McDonnell denied that the Alaska governor will be campaigning in Virginia.

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Bob McDonnell • Terry McAuliffe • Virginia
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. WI Cheesehead

    Cheney’s arrogance will not let him keep his mouth shut. When he was VP all he ever said was he doesn’t have to explain anything because he’s only answerable to the George W. Now all over a sudden he wants our lending ears. Sad to say but Cheney is busy preaching “the end justifies the means” summon and sure enough he has an audience for that kind of talk. But then again he might just be jealous of his cousin Obama being POTUS. One advice for Cheney: Don’t shoot your friends anymore you don’t have executive privileges anymore.

    May 14, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  2. Another dream speech

    So he had to lie about Palin to get his supporters fired up and make himself look better with empty words and outright lies. Typical politician, I'm sure he'll take Virginia by a landslide in this climate of sheeple.

    May 14, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  3. NVa Native

    Brian Moran is getting my vote. He's worked hard for Virginians when the local Repub mafia was comfortable in the state house. He knows how to handle the thugs.

    May 14, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  4. mike

    "Good Ole Boy" Terry is a democrat stooge, he is about as much a Virginian as Hillary was a New Yorker.... both carpet bagging political pontificating blowhards whose qualifications for their political jobs are suspect at best.

    May 14, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  5. phoenix86

    Bill, please go hunting with Cheney.

    May 14, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  6. U.S. Common Sense

    Virginians will vote for Deeds before they vote for an outsider like Terry.

    May 14, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  7. phoenix86

    ACORN just got over $8 billion in federal tax dollars. That's plenty to buy Virginia.

    May 14, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  8. Republicans are the American Taliban

    Hi, I'm Republican Bob McDonnell, the state’s former attorney. I'm running for Governor here now. If you elect me, I promise to be mean and hateful. I'll vote NO on anything proposed by those socialist Democrats that might benefit our state. My true allegiance of course, will be to a radio shock jock, and not any of you fools that vote for me. I promise to threaten to succeed from the union, and support wearing teabags on our heads. I will spend my day texting, and sending Twitters, instead of working and earing my salary. So vote for me BOB...if you don't, you're not a true American.....

    May 14, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  9. Rose

    No, Clinton has it wrong. A NATIVE Virginian and 20-year State Senator, CREIGH DEEDS, was born to lead Virginia.

    May 14, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. Rob

    Yeah, born to lead Virginia....right into the ground. But go ahead Virginia, you want to ruin your state? Vote him in then.

    May 14, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  11. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    More like "born to pander" to the likes of Shrillary. It defies belief how politipimps like McAuliffe presume to be ready to govern when they've never done anything close to it.

    May 14, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  12. Jean

    Sarah Palin is on all their brains.

    May 14, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  13. Jeff in Virginia

    Love ya Bill, but you're not doing the right thing here. Just because your top money man wants to be a governor somewhere doesn't

    mean you should tarnish your legacy by schilling for him.

    As the head of the DNC, McAuliffe presided over the worst hemorrhaging of Democratic congresspersons in the past century. He puts

    personal ambition and partisan politics above all else.

    This is not the kind of executive that Virginia wants or needs. Please Bill, just leave this one be.

    May 14, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  14. Jerry

    Robert E. Lee must be spinning in his grave at this prospect.

    May 14, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  15. Lee, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Terry McAuliffe is JUST as slippery and sleazy as "slick Willy." They are peas in a pod.

    May 14, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  16. Bob in Pa

    Oh, so the rest of us don't know how to raise children huh Bill? All the problems in this country are caused by us little peons out here ?

    May 14, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  17. StormerF

    Clinton needs to go home and retire,take his buddy Carter with him.What is doing anyway??Maube he is going to tell us why were attacked 4 times on his watch and he did nothing??

    May 14, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  18. Ryan Indianapolis

    I love it when Democrats demonize Bush and Cheney and say they do not have any class or are "EVIL People" . But yet there role models are Bill Clinton and John Edwards and Ted Kennedy? You people really have no clue do you. Your role models are the scum of the earth, I would take GW and his Class over any of those dirtbags any day of the week.

    May 14, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
1 2