Archive for February 2012
After what happened in Michigan last week, the Romney campaign is worried it could happen again. Voters, who aren’t necessarily supporters of their opponent, going to the polls and casting a ballot for them in an open primary, just to keep Romney from the nomination.
The Super Tuesday state where Romney is most vulnerable may be Virginia. With an open primary, no democratic contest and several GOP candidates who didn’t make the Virginia primary ballot, many people interested in participating in the process are left with nothing to do. While they all support someone else, they are united in one thing: Seeing Mitt Romney lose.
Tonight on NBC12 I explored the possibility of “Operation Chaos” coming to Virginia:
RICHMOND (WWBT) - The Virginia presidential primary is now less than a week away and even though there are only two of a possible four candidates on the ballot, there is still the potential for the vote to create havoc.
It is not a new phenomenon, voters taking advantage of an open primary to cast a ballot for a candidate they may not support, but one that could help defeat another candidate.
Liz Mair is a libertarian leaning republican political consultant, who to put it bluntly, is not very happy with the GOP presidential field.
“I am a disenfranchised Virginia voter,” she said. “That’s actually what I would say.”
At one time she worked for Texas Governor Rick Perry, and she liked former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, both are no longer in the race. Mair is not sure who to support, but she knows who she doesn’t like.
“I have historically not had a lot of love for Mitt Romney,” she said.
Mair will cast her vote for the only other option: Ron Paul. The Romney campaign is worried there are many others like her. Republicans who aren’t ready to support the former Massachusetts governor, and those who like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, the other candidates still in the race, but not on the ballot.
Mair, who has been around many campaigns, believes if things fall the right way, it could have an impact.
“I wouldn’t want to predict what that would mean numerically,” said Mair. “But I think it could result in some interesting activity.”
..read and see the full story on NBC12.com
It has been a General Assembly session filled with passion, anger and angst. Protests and counter protests have become a regular occurrence and the responsibility of keeping the peace falls with the Virginia Capitol Police force.
It hasn’t been easy. The Capitol Police force successfully managed several protests both for and against controversial bills dealing with abortion. Abortion is a topic that often brings out very heated emotions. Who can forget the anger that was unleashed in the moments after a Senate committee passed the “personhood” bill and a bill to require ultrasounds before abortions? Our photographer Nathan McCann captured this moment of a protestor being held back by a member of the Capitol Police.
The Capitol Police were called into duty again Monday night. A group quickly organized a protest of the pending “ultrasound before abortion” bill and asked supporters to gather
in front of behind the Governor’s mansion to voice their displeasure. Not long after the group of 50-100 protestors gathered, Capitol Police quickly came in and asked the group to leave Capitol Square. The protestors moved to a new location near the mansion, but off Capitol Square grounds. The next day, several voiced their frustration with being asked to move. Well known liberal blogger J.C. Wimore wrote about his displeasure on this blog and wrote a lengthy post on “The Richmonder”. Wilmore said the way Capitol and State Police handled the situation made him “really, deeply, viscerally angry.”
Note: I misunderstood the path of the vigil in my discussions with Pike and Whiting. Vigil participants silently walked by the General Assembly building on Broad Street and then assembled behind the Executive mansion on Governor’s Street. At no point did they enter or attempt to set up in Capitol Square. That was my mistake and I apologize for the incorrect information.
Capitol Police Chief, Col. Anthony “Steve” Pike said the response by his officers was appropriate and designed to protect not only visitors to Capitol Square that have nothing to do with the protest, but the protestors themselves. Pike said that it is his squad’s responsibility to enforce the regulations set out by the Virginia Department of General Services, which operates the Capitol grounds. He said this group, made up of various representatives from different women’s rights organizations, did not apply for a permit, despite efforts by his department to reach out to the group ahead of time.
“The regulations are pretty clear,” said Pike. “We want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to have their voice heard. But in order to protect visitors to the Capitol and those wishing to assemble, we must follow those regulations.”
Those regulations require the protest to occur near the Capitol Bell Tower. It also restricts how long the event can take place.
Whitney Whiting was one of several organizers of the event and admitted the group did not even attempt to obtain a permit. She said their goal was to have a peaceful protest, that would garner the attention of lawmakers in control of the issues they were concerned about. Chief among them, Gov. Bob McDonnell.
Whiting said she understood why the group was pushed out of Capitol Square, but wonders why it required the force it did. Note: In the comments section below Whitney Whiting explains that she understood that the police wanted to “ensure safety.”
Whiting and Wilmore both describe seeing police in full riot gear, and in numbers that were not proportional to their peaceful gathering.
“It was surprising that they would bring out such a big force,” she said. “It was a little intimidating.”
Pike agreed, the protest was peaceful and those in attendance were cooperative with his officers. He explained that in addition to Capitol Police, the State Police was on hand guarding the Executive Mansion. The Virginia State Police handles all protection of the governor and his family. The governor has no say in the level of that protection.
He also said that the perceived heavy level of force was not there to keep the protestors in line, but to prevent a serious incident if a counter protest were to erupt.
“We heard chatter all day about this group or that group potentially showing up at the Capitol,” said Pike. “We don’t want to see anyone get hurt, so we take all necessary precautions.”
Whiting said that despite their imposing look, the Capitol and State Police forces were polite and were not verbally or physically threatening. She was surprised they were ask to turn off their electronic “candles”. Regardless, she hopes the overall message was received.
As for Pike, he encouraged anyone with questions to get in contact with his office or the Department of General Services so that they can help coordinate any demonstrations. He expressed his disappointment about the perception left behind by the incident and was emphatic that not one of his officers was there to interrupt or intimidate those expressing their first amendment rights.
Rising republican star and Tea Party favorite, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) will be in Richmond this week to headline a fundraiser for Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Henrico). Cantor is the House Majority Leader.
The “Cantor Campaign Breakfast” will take place Friday morning at the Richmond Convention Center.
Rubio is a darling of the conservative right and beat back former Gov. Charlie Crist in a contentious republican primary before easily being elected to the Senate in 2010. Interestingly, he is considered on the shortlist to be asked to run for vice president with the eventual GOP, in part, because of his popularity in a vital swing state.
Of course along with Rubio on that short list for VP is Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R).
Details on the event can be found below:
WHAT: Eric Cantor Campaign Breakfast with special guest Senator Marco Rubio
WHEN: Friday, March 2nd at 8:00 AM ET
Where: The Greater Richmond Convention CenterExhibit Hall B
Fifth and Marshall Streets
It has been an interesting year in the Virginia General Asssembly. Monday night at 11 on NBC12 I took a look at the “legislative laugh factory”.
Amidst the hot topics at this year at the General Assembly — there’s also been a lot of laughs. The respected institution has generated plenty of comedy in 2012, some by accident, and others on purpose.
The Virginia General Assembly is the oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere. It has survived both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and counts presidents among its alumni.
It makes you wonder what has happened in 2012.
You’ve seen the late night jabs taken at Virginia’s expense.
“I love transvaginal. It’s my favorite airline,” said Amy Poehler on NBC’s Saturday Night Live referring to the heated debate over Virginia requiring ultrasounds before abortions.
But as groups like Saturday Night Live use the Commonwealth as comedic punching bag, members of General Assembly have decided to make jokes of their own.
“The boys in bed, wife’s here,” said Del. Dave Albo (R-Fairfax) from the House floor. “TV check.”
Late last week, Albo regaled his colleagues with a story of romancing his wife. It was something that was interrupted by the national coverage of the Virginia legislature.
“The Gentleman from Alexandria’s face as big as my wall going ‘trans-ve buh bu buh,” he said in reference to fellow Del. Dave Englin (D-Alexandria)
Note, the use of the word “gentleman”.
Then today, Del. Scott Surovell a Democrat from Northern Virginia stepped to the microphone to debate against the “castle” doctrine which would allow someone to use deadly force to protect their home.
“I’m a delegate running for office,” he said talking about walking door to door during his campaign. Another unidentified member of the House yelled, “SHOOT HIM!”
The back-and-forth led to hearty laughs from both republicans and democrats.
read the rest of the story on NBC12.com
Here are the full clips. First from Monday Del. Scott Surovell and the “Shoot him” clip:
And the Albo clip. (our version) The version from the blog Not Larry Sabato has recieved over 200 thousand views.
After several weeks of bitter partisan battles over social issues, the Virginia House of Delegates took a deep breath and had some fun with the all the national attention the issue has been getting.
Below is a moment on the House floor that brought quite a bit of laughter between Del. Dave Albo (R) and Del. David Englin (D).
Social issues have dominated the headlines in Virginia for this General Assembly session, but the budget is quickly expected to become a serious and perhaps damaging fight. Here is my preview of what could go down Friday at the State Capitol:
Thursday night, we reported on the Democrats plan to block the budget process in an attempt to get more power in the Virginia Senate. Here is my story from NBC12.com:
RICHMOND (WWBT)- After weeks of toxic social issues dominating the headlines, a behind the scenes budget battle has bubbled to the surface, and with it, threatening claims about what it could lead to.
Think back to your high school civics class.
It takes three parts of government to pass legislation: the house, the senate and the governor. Thursday senate democrats made a bold move, voting down the budget, thereby stalling the spending plan. If a compromise is not struck, Virginia’s government could be shut down.
It came after a day of rowdy protests, which had nothing to do with budget. Democrats made a tactical move, voting down the senate spending plan.
Afterward, shocked republicans, one by one called the move historic, but not in a good way.
“So it’s a sad day for the senate in my judgment,” said Sen. Walter Stosch (R-Hanover), the senate republican’s chief budget architect.
“To then have them vote against the budget for no justifiable reason is an incredible act of political hypocrisy,” said Lt. Governor Bill Bolling (R-Virginia)
Republicans see the move as blatantly political, designed to force the GOP’s hand and get them to agree to share power.
read and see the full story on NBC12.com.
I will be at the Capitol today for the fireworks. Keep an eye on my twitter feed and for updates here on Decision Virginia.
Terry McAuliffe joined the chorus of democratic leaders hammering the General Assembly’s action on social issues in 2012.
See our full interview from NBC12 below:
Breaking from the State Capitol: Governor Bob McDonnell asking members of the General Assembly to change portions of the ultrasound before abortion bill.
His full statement is below:
Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on SB 484
RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement today regarding SB 484, a bill before the General Assembly that would require an ultrasound prior to an abortion being performed.
“I am pro-life. I believe deeply in the sanctity of innocent human life and believe governments have a duty to protect human life. The more our society embraces a culture of life for all people, the better country we will have. Over the course of my 20-year career in elected office, I have been glad to play a leading role in putting in place common-sense policies that protect and defend innocent human life in the Commonwealth. One of those bills was Virginia’s informed consent statute, of which I was the chief patron in the House of Delegates, finally seeing its passage in 2001. This session, the General Assembly is now considering amending this informed consent statute to include a requirement that any woman seeking an abortion receive an ultrasound in order to establish the gestational age for appropriate medical purposes, and to offer a woman the opportunity to voluntarily review that ultrasound prior to giving her legal informed consent to abortion.
Over the past days I have discussed the specific language of the proposed legislation with other governors, physicians, attorneys, legislators, advocacy groups, and citizens. It is apparent that several amendments to the proposed legislation are needed to address various medical and legal issues which have arisen. It is clear that in the majority of cases, a routine external, transabdominal ultrasound is sufficient to meet the bills stated purpose, that is, to determine gestational age. I have come to understand that the medical practice and standard of care currently guide physicians to use other procedures to find the gestational age of the child, when abdominal ultrasounds cannot do so. Determining gestational age is essential for legal reasons, to know the trimester of the pregnancy in order to comply with the law, and for medical reasons as well.
Thus, having looked at the current proposal, I believe there is no need to direct by statute that further invasive ultrasound procedures be done. Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state. No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.
For this reason, I have recommended to the General Assembly a series of amendments to this bill. I am requesting that the General Assembly amend this bill to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily. I am asking the General Assembly to state in this legislation that only a transabdominal, or external, ultrasound will be required to satisfy the requirements to determine gestational age. Should a doctor determine that another form of ultrasound may be necessary to provide the necessary images and information that will be an issue for the doctor and the patient. The government will have no role in that medical decision.
I have requested other amendments that help clarify the purposes of the bill and reflect a better understanding of prevailing medical practices. It is my hope that the members of the General Assembly will act favorably upon these recommendations from our office. We will await their action prior to making any further comments on this matter.”
If the 2012 Virginia General Assembly accomplishes nothing else this year, it will at least be able to claim the mantle of the state legislative body with the most headlines. Controversial debates over social issues, guns and education, has Virginia splashed all over national web sites and newspapers for the last two months.
Many of those headlines come directly from legislation authored by the colorful and provocative Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William). The conservative delegate, who is also running for in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate has always been outspoken on issues like abortion and gay rights. He is the author of HB-1 a bill that would designate life beginning at conception. A policy commonly called “personhood”. Marshall is also a strong support of a measure that would require woman seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound prior to the procedure.
The heated debate over those issues led Saturday Night Live to group the Virginia in with other hot button issues related to abortion and contraception. In a segment called “Really? with Seth & Amy” Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler mocked Marshall and his colleagues for supporting personhood and ultrasounds before abortions.
“The Virginia House of Representatives this week passed a bill that required women to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound before having an abortion. Really?’ asked Poehler. ”Now don’t get me wrong. I love transvaginal. It’s my favorite airline.”
Marshall hadn’t seen the sketch before our Sarah Bloom asked him about it. He took time to watch it and then called her back. Then he came down to NBC12 to respond on camera.. and provide a little comedy of his own.
“I was scandalized, shocked at the rampant sexist nature of this,” said Marshall, with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. ”I mean for example, that chauvinist Seth answers a question about pregnancy when in fact, it should have been Baby Momma who answers the question about pregnancy. I’ll bet Seth has never been pregnant.”
Of course personhood is Marshall’s signature bill. Filed as HB-1 before any other legislation. Meyers enjoyed poking fun at that as well.
“They also passed a bill saying life begins at conception. What’s next?’ asked Meyers. ”Life begins at last call? Life begins when you press send on your Match.com profile?”
Marshall told Sarah that he thought they could do better than that.
“If it’s up to me, look, we tell kids in Virginia 3rd graders, that life begins when sperm and egg meet. They’re kids…what do they know? Adults know life beings when the kids get married and leave home,” Marshall joked. “That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.”
But while the fiery delegate was quick to return his version of comedic fire, he got serious in defense of the bill claiming the media and pro-choice protestors have it all wrong.
“People need to read the bill. This doesn’t do any of the stuff that 95% of the people are saying out there,” he said. ”It doesn’t abolish abortion, it doesn’t get rid of birth control, it doesn’t affect in-vitro.”
Marshall pointed to a similar standard passed in Missouri in 1986 that hasn’t outlawed abortion, cut down on in-vitro or contraception. Marshall said the goal is protect a parent’s legal interest in their unborn child.
“Parents have a protectable interest in children,” he said. “It is a legal interest they should have the right to say, I lost a child. I didn’t lose a tadpole or kangaroo or you know, some stuffed bear. This is a person of great importance to me. The law doesn’t’ recognize that right now.”
Of course pro-choice groups, which staged a large silent protest today disagree. They believe Marshall’s bill is part of a slow creep to end abortion at minimum and outlaw contraception at the most.
Marshall who is using his strong conservative credentials as an asset in the race for U.S. Senate credited his primary opponent, former senator George Allen for being on the same page with him on personhood. “He supports House Bill 1,” said Marshall. ”Yes, I thank him for that. Yes, I do.”
You can see Sarah’s entire story here.
Extended clips of Sarah’s interview with Del. Marshall can be found below: