September 24th, 2009
01:09 PM ET
13 years ago

Despite pressure from Obama, Wilder won't back Deeds

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="President Obama pressed Wilder to endorse Deeds in the Virginia governor's race."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Despite a personal phone call from President Obama urging him to do so, former Virginia governor Douglas Wilder said Thursday he will not endorse his fellow Democrat Creigh Deeds in this year's gubernatorial race.

Pointing to Deeds' support for gun rights and his willingness to raise taxes, Wilder wrote in an online column that he plans to keep his powder dry.

"The question before me is whether I support the Democratic candidate's position in addressing these issues," Wilder wrote on the Web site Virginia Tomorrow. "I have not thus far in the progress of the campaign, and as aforesaid refrain from so doing."

Wilder said he doesn't expect Obama - who called him several weeks ago asking him to publicly endorse Deeds - will be thrilled with his decision.

"I'm not thinking the president is going to be pleased," he told CNN, adding that he and the president "have a very good relationship."

“I live in Virginia,” he continued. “I have to deal with the people here. This is bigger than party to me. This has to do with the future of Virginia.”

Virginia political observers know that Wilder, who became the nation's first African-American governor in 1990, has never been afraid to speak his own mind, a point the Deeds campaign has been sure to note when discussing Wilder's thinking.

But his refusal to endorse Deeds because of the tax issue will certainly provide fodder for the campaign of Republican candidate Bob McDonnell, who has vowed to avoid any tax increases if elected.

Throughout the campaign, Wilder has criticized Deeds for not defining himself or his positions on certain issues. At the same time, Wilder has spoken warmly about Deeds' Republican rival, Bob McDonnell, sparking chatter that he might buck his own party and endorse McDonnell. But Wilder said he won't back McDonnell.

Deeds spokesman Jared Leopold said the campaign respects Wilder's decision.

"While Creigh and he may not agree on every issue, they share a fundamental commitment to keeping Virginia the best managed state in the nation, as Governor Wilder first made it in 1992," Leopold said. "As governor, Creigh intends to seek Governor Wilder’s counsel often, and looks forward to working with him.”

Filed under: Creigh Deeds • President Obama
soundoff (45 Responses)

    Has Mr. Wilder stated his reasons for not endorsing McDonnell?

    If not, a reminder of the long list of reasons not to vote for McDonnell would be helpful!

    In the last election when Hillary Clinton did not get the nomination, I made a similar mistake to the one Mr. Wilder is making now. Fortunately, I realized it before Nov 2008.

    Mr. Wilder, you might not like everything about Creigh Deeds, but he is our Party's candidate. Hopefully, you haven't helped McDonnell too much, because there is no doubt tht his beliefs have NOTHING to do with ours!

    September 24, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. Bluebonnet

    What is it with the "ruler-in-chief"? Has his grubby paws into everything, doesn't he? It'll come back to haunt his unpopular self, and soon at the rate he's going.

    September 24, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. Jason

    Obama should stay out of Virginia politics, stay out of New York politics and as a matter of fact he should stay out of politics in general.
    Do the right thing, resign now and go back to being a community organizer in Chicago.

    September 24, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Shibumi

    Stinkle Barry should send The Kneecapper Rahm to pay Wilder a visit. Wilder will be singing a different tune by tomorrow.
    There is so much love in the Dimbocrats party......brings tears to my eyes.

    September 24, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. vic nashville , Tn

    Why we can work together ?

    September 24, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. hej

    Good grief! Can the WH please focus on what's on their own plate and stop nosing into state affairs? I get that our President is a great campaigner, but the campaign is over, he was vastly successful, and now he needs to stay focused on the business he won when he was elected...

    It's disturbing to see these machinations – presuming to usurp others' choices is not something I consider a positive quality for our President, or for any of those alongside him.

    There are enough people in this country who are skittish, to say the least, about losing free will and choice without finding new areas in which to meddle....

    September 24, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. single mom

    Another state the Obama Administration is going to tick off – New York being the other.
    Well, if they keep this up long enough, they'll pull the wool off even the most fanatical Dem.

    Arrogance and dictatorial commands are not the way to get the American public on your side in any argument.

    September 24, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Freedom

    At least Deeds even though I don't back him he seems to tell the truth more then people like Obama. I do hope a (R) wins the state. It would be nice to see the party common sense back in. It also could mean that all the kings men will not be able to put Obama back together again.

    September 24, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. Joe

    Does Obama plan on installing Czars in every state to be proxy governors?

    September 24, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Fed Up

    Wow! Another Democrat standing up to the chosen one. Maybe there is hope for this country after all. I doubt it though.

    September 24, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. JP

    You need to endorse this person in Virginia. You can't run for governor in NY. Someone needs to tell Obama this is a democracy and he is not king and absolute ruler. Look at the countries that have and did have absolute rulers its not pretty.

    September 24, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  12. dave

    Extremely unfortunate.My respect for Gov. Wilder has been diminished.

    September 24, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. Grrr-awful-o

    Boy, Obama has a slight control issue doesn't he? He's telling all the local politicians what he wants them to do (Wilder, Patterson). Why doesn't he just appoint czars to run these silly states? Democracy is so second millenium.

    September 24, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. janelle

    Good for Wilder for standing up for what he believes and putting the people of Virginia first. What is with the White House thinking they have some kind of mandate to hand pick Governors? First New York, now Virginia? Fortunately the White House is now 0-2 and hopefully they'll realize that winning a national election doesn't give them the right to bully their way into state politics.

    September 24, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  15. Jimmy the Greek


    The narcissist now wants to tell NY Gov and VA Gov what to do??

    2010 is going to be VERY ugly. The pendulum has already began to build momentum hard to the right.

    Between Obama's blunders and the incompetence in Congress.... this will be the worse night for democrats in the HISTORY of our nation.

    September 24, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. kim

    What in the world is going on is this a dictatorship?

    September 24, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. DianeR PC FL

    This just goes to show that "pressure" from President Obama doesn't consist of the Republican-style pressure of severe arm-twisting and threats of political reprisal. The Republican Neo-Fascists will call this a sign of the President's weakness. I call his approach a class-act where no one is afraid to speak their mind and state differences in an adult manner. Of course, we've seen how the Rehooligans handle differences of opinion: they don't tolerate them.

    September 24, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. Robin

    Someone dared to tell Obama No? The outrage! Put him in jail....NOW.

    September 24, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. worriedmom

    Guess the Kool-Aid (juice) is finally wearing off. People are starting to see that this Administration is a very scary thing. Don't care for Wilder, but at least you can say one thing, he says what he has to say and doesnt care about what others think.
    Vote for McDonnell!!!

    September 24, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. gt

    americans are sick and tired of voting for one who has a D or a R in front .... good job ...wilder

    September 24, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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