Wednesday’s gubernatorial debate between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli was filled with numerous negative attacks.
At Hotline, we put together a breakdown of the best jabs each candidate delivered, and what they mean for the final six weeks of the race.
Cuccinelli: “Governor is not a good entry-level job.”
Cuccinelli’s campaign focused on a new message this month on McAuliffe’s governing inexperience. While Cuccinelli has served in state government since 2002, McAuliffe has never held elective office before. And after an influential business PAC endorsed Cuccinelli over McAuliffe, the Republican sought to play himself up as the candidate with the right resume to be governor. Later in the debate, Cuccinelli pointed out that McAuliffe wouldn’t be able to “sign” same-sex marriage legislation as he had just promised, informing his opponent that such a change would have to be passed through ballot measure and okayed by the voters, not the governor. He later added: “Unlike my opponent, I do my homework.”
McAuliffe: “He has pushed personhood legislation, which would outlaw most forms of contraception, [and] would make the pill illegal in Virginia.”
McAuliffe holds a 24-point lead among women voters, according to a Washington Post poll released this week, and he exploited that advantage Wednesday night. McAuliffe brought up Cuccinelli’s stance on women’s issues, including contraception and the Violence Against Women Act no fewer than three times in the hour-long debate.
Cuccinelli: “We’re going to have to change the state’s motto from ‘Sic Semper Tyrannis’ to ‘Quid Pro Quo’”
Cuccinelli has been pushing the message that McAuliffe is a wheeler and dealer who’s more concerned about his own bottom line than Virginia’s. The line was snappy and reinforced a major campaign argument.
McAuliffe: “I stand by everything I have done in my life.”
McAuliffe offered that answer when asked whether votes would be able to trust him on issues of ethics, given some of the questions surrounding his business dealings and former political work. The quote was surprising from a candidate who has come under so much scrutiny in this campaign for his work with GreenTech Automotive, which is currently under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Homeland Security. McAuliffe didn’t mention GreenTech by name at all in the debate, even after Cuccinelli specifically brought it up, but this was his strongest defense of his work there to date.
Cuccinelli: “Terry sold more visas to Chinese citizens as part of GreenTech than his failed company has sold cars.”
Facing ethics questions of his own, it was important for Cuccinelli to raise McAuliffe’s own questionable business history last night. The SEC and DHS are currently investigating whether GreenTech was given special treatment when applying for visas for Chinese investors because of McAuliffe’s political connections. That McAuliffe built plants for GreenTech in Mississippi and China — not Virginia — and has yet to produce a single automobile has been central to attack ads by Cuccinelli’s campaign and Republican outside groups. It also cuts into McAuliffe’s attempts to paint himself as a successful businessman who has the experience to create jobs for the Commonwealth. Of course, Cuccinelli’s campaign has been using similar lines since the early days of the race and McAuliffe continues to lead in the polls.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”