Obama stumps for McAuliffe in Virginia governor’s race
November 3rd, 2013
04:23 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama stumps for McAuliffe in Virginia governor’s race

Arlington, Virginia (CNN) - President Barack Obama sidestepped talking about his signature achievement, health care reform, and instead focused on the politics of the government shutdown in a campaign rally to help Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe get over the finish line in Tuesday's governor's race.

McAuliffe, a best friend of the Clinton family, has been ahead of Republican Ken Cuccinelli, even if marginally, in every poll of the race taken since mid-July. A victory here Tuesday night could provide some cover to the Obama administration, which has been under fire for a month for the botched roll-out of the Affordable Care Act's sign-up website for the insurance exchange system October 1.

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Cuccinelli, who is Virginia’s attorney general, has kept up a sustained attack on Obamacare for the past month, calling this election a referendum on the controversial law.

But a high-ranking national Democratic official told CNN that come Wednesday morning (should McAuliffe win, as they expect), the party will circulate videos of Cuccinelli saying repeatedly that if voters like Obamacare – unpopular though it may be – they should vote for McAuliffe.

And yet, even though the president avoided talking about the issue, he was plainly seeking to take advantage of a likely McAuliffe victory.

In his remarks Sunday at the Washington-Lee High School just across the Potomac in northern Virginia's Arlington, he noted that many high-profile figures have come out on the campaign trail for "the Macker," like Bill and Hillary Clinton, and even actress Kerry Washington.

"I was tired of having other people have all the fun," the president said. "I want to get in on the action."

Touting his own record, he mentioned that health care costs are "slowing." And blasting Republicans for what he called extremist views, he said, "You don't create jobs by trying to restrict the health care choices that women make."

The second comment is part of McAuliffe's strategy of targeting women voters by calling attention to Cuccinelli's efforts to restrict access to birth control, a position Democrats believe is fatal for Republicans in well-populated areas all over the country, like northern Virginia.

"It's very telling that Terry McAuliffe is spending the final days of the race campaigning with President Obama, just days after it was revealed that the President knowingly misled the American people when he said they could keep their preferred health plans," Richard T. Cullen, Cuccinelli's communications director said when asked about McAuliffe's strategy.

"McAuliffe has long been a staunch supporter of Obamacare and even supported the public option, which would have put us on a straight path to government-run health care."

While Republicans continue to hammer Democrats on Obamacare, the Democrats continue to return fire by blaming conservatives like Cuccinelli for the government shutdown.

Obama blamed the "extreme right of the Republican Party" for grinding progress to a halt in Washington.

"Here in Virginia, you saw the pain of the first government shutdown in 17 years," he said before criticizing Cuccinelli for saying Friday on Fox News that the shutdown is in the rearview mirror.

"It can't be in the rearview mirror if this is your operative theory of politics," Obama said. The president went on to say that being governor is a practical job, and they cannot afford to be ideologues.

And thanking the handful of former Republican officials who have thrown their support to McAuliffe, the president said: "They understand that the job of governor is not about tearing things down. It's about building folks up."

Obama ended his remarks by warning against complacency because McAuliffe has developed enough of a lead for long enough that Democratic officials now feel comfortable that they have basically put the race away. Having won the state in the last two presidential elections for the first time in decades, he warned that Virginia races are always close.

But the late push in the densely populated northern Virginia suburbs by high-profile Democrats like Obama and Vice President Joe Biden is about more than simply turning out the base for McAuliffe; Democrats are now pushing for a sweep of the state's three top offices. While they feel confident about winning the governor's and lieutenant governor's races, the attorney general's race between Democrat Mark Herring and Republican Mark Obenshain is closer. If the Democrats can pull off all three, it gives the president a critical talking point and the state's Democratic Party an edge headed into next year's midterm elections.

Filed under: 2013 • Ken Cuccinelli • Terry McAuliffe • Virginia
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    VA just vote direct Democratic ticket.

    November 3, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  2. Tampa Tim

    Dump the Cooch on Tuesday.

    November 3, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    According to right wingnuts, private insurance companies competing for insures under the ACA is now socialism.

    November 3, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. sonnie3

    McAuliffe would win by a wider margin if Obama got far away from his campaign as possible. Liars just don't have credibility with Americans that love their Freedoms and Liberties.

    November 3, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. Pastor Paul c.

    Oh yeah. Good job Mr president for ur efforts in making sure Macker wins de election and dat democrats win all de seats too. Go on McAulife. God bless America, God bless Virginia.

    November 3, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. Marie MD

    NOTE to Virginians, McDonnell, cuchimamma now. Cuchimamma, obenshain and Jackson all against women's rights.
    if CNN would let me tell it like it is this time . . . . Jackson thinks that children born with disabilities are the punishment for their parents' sins.
    Those Christians values!

    November 3, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  7. William Frappart

    If Obama puts his ok on McAuliffe's candidacy then that should tell the voters of the great state of Virginia No Way will I vote for McAuliffe. We don't need more Obama yes men in the White house. Look at some of his picks for Government leaders. Think about this administration. IRS, Bengazi, Obama Care, How many times do the American people have to be hit in the head to know the Dems are wolves in sheeps clothing.

    November 3, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. man of principles

    If your current health insurance doesn't pay for your hospital bills or has a 25K deductible, you can't keep it, because it doesn't fulfill the minimum requirements outlined in the ACA. So yes, if your current insurance is a rip-off, you will have to get a new one. That's a good thing! The only reason anyone would prefer to keep such a shoddy insurance is that this someone had the good fortune of not having to use it. Otherwise, he/she would have found out that it was worthless. Of course, the GOP is just going for the soundbite and doesn't care about the facts .... defeat the tea party in order to save the country. Signed, an independent, moderate man of reason.

    November 3, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  9. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Do the right thing and vote for Terry!

    November 3, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Virginia will fall to even more entitlement grants if McAuliffe is elected – actually the state may really be in trouble with McAuliffe's business records. Elect him – and your Medicaid Obamacare will be granted for all Virginia citizens!

    If you are still drinking the Obama Kool Aid – and actually believe what this President says, you are further off in La La Land and might not be able to be saved. Just think how many lies we've heard in the past two weeks from Mr. Obama. McAliffe will be NO different!

    November 3, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  11. Thomas

    We must destroy America To Save America 2016

    Rick Perry / Rand Paul
    Ted Cruze / Sarah Palin
    Rick Scott / Darrell Issa
    Jim DeMint / Dick Army
    Marco Rubio / Michele Bachmann
    Donald Trump / Ann Coulter
    Rick Santorum / Piyush "Bobby" Jindal
    Paul Ryan / Tag Romney

    November 3, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. Stuffit

    Did you hear him tear up the TEA party, they called him a corrupt liar long ago and the rest of the country is just catching up. So like everyone else that tells the truth about him he berates, demeans and belittles them and as you can see from the rest of these post, the dope adidicted welfare frauds follow the most corrupt president in history's lead.

    November 3, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  13. Hector Slagg

    Man the lifeboats! This ship is sinking!

    November 3, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  14. tonnia crowell

    why don't the people have the power to say no? my grandpa used to say what is good for the goose is good for the gander,so in plain english if the president and congress don't want it then the peoppple have the right to say no!NO ISN'T JUST FOR DRUGS ANYMORE! !

    November 3, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  15. McRCN

    I cannot believe anyone who took the time to read what McAuliffe has been up to for the past 25 years and the deals he has been involved in would even consider voting for him. IMHO, the man is a crook.

    November 3, 2013 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  16. J.V.Hodgson

    Cuccinelli has done little good for Virginia. He oppose women's rights, is totally against a law of the land i.e PPACA, and is extreme right wing on abortion and government shutdowns.
    Virginians, voting Cucinelli will get what they deserve a government of do nothing other than help the rich 1%

    November 3, 2013 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  17. HenryMiller

    Being seen with Obama right now strikes me as a great way to lose an election.

    November 3, 2013 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  18. krhodes

    Poor o'le Barack...can't use accomplishmenst so he just blames others and attacks people personally. Is that what dems want or is that all they can do?

    November 4, 2013 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  19. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Voting for a democrate can't be bad ,voting for a republican running on anti healthcare is bad. How stupid is that!!!the dumbest agenda ever.wheres the jobs bills you ran on in 2010 and haven't produced one without some stupid anti abortion attachment, religious freeks will never win .read the constitution ,seperation of church and state,GOP idiots!!!!!

    November 4, 2013 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  20. Tigas

    "A victory here Tuesday night could provide some cover to the Obama administration, which has been under fire for a month for the botched roll-out of the Affordable Care Act’s sign-up website for the insurance exchange system October 1." -CNN

    CNN = Accountability means NOTHING

    November 4, 2013 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  21. A True Conservative

    Mr. President – how about spending less time on politcs and spending more time actually doing the job that you were elected to do. Maybe if you spent less time campaigning you would be more aware of what is actually going on in your administration.

    November 4, 2013 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  22. Rick McDaniel

    Anyone for Obama, is against the people and the country of America.

    November 4, 2013 07:24 am at 7:24 am |