McAuliffe the policy wonk, McAuliffe the attack dog
Terry McAuliffe came to Richmond on Thursday to unveil the third chapter in his business plan. The plan is the key policy piece in his argument that he is the best candidate for Governor of Virginia.
McAuliffe spoke to a small group of business leaders in Richmond and outlined his belief that economic security for the indvidual is as important a concept as the growth of industry and job creation. He broke down three important aspects of economic security: access to health care, affordable education and retirement security. It is the candidate’s belief that if individuals are more secure in each of their individual situations, the overall health of the commonwealth will improve.
You can read his entire release and see video from his stop in Richmond after the jump…
While McAuliffe was touting his think policy wonk friendly business plan during the morning, he spent the afternoon attempting to rile up his base, with an offhanded joke used at a recent Bob McDonnell fundraiser. McAuliffe and his team attacked the GOP candidate for Governor for standing next to former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee while he told a joke he has told many times before about keeping non-McDonnell voters from the polls. You can see what Huck said here.
McAuliffe camp the idea of “voter supression” no laughing matter. He held a conference call where he asked McDonnell to condemn Huckabee’s comments. He also used the clip as a way to raise money. The campaign sent out an e-mail to supporters expressing their outrage and asking for cash to beat back McDonnell’s efforts.
The McDonnell campaign decided against taking McAuliffe’s advice. A spokesman said the attack “demonstrates a complete lack of perspective and seriousness. ” It is also worth pointing out that jokes like these are not uncommon on the campaign trail by Republicans and Democrats. In fact President Barack Obama himself made a similar joke on the campaign trail (h/t Shad Plank).
I think what is more interesting is how McAuliffe can work two different angles at virtually the same time. It is an advantage that only a campaign with his resources can do. Not only does the Macker have the staff to compile a comprehensive document, thick with ideas on how to fix the economy, but at almost the exact same time they can research tid-bits on their opponent and release a layered attack that reaches out to the press and potential donors. It is something that at this point, he is the only candidate capable of doing.
Here is video of the Macker’s trip to Richmond followed by the complete release of the third chapter of his business plan:
Highlighting Need for Economic Security, McAuliffe Unveils Third Chapter of Business Plan for Virginia
Following up on chapters that focused on making Virginia a renewable energy leader and creating good jobs across the Commonwealth, gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe today unveiled the third chapter of his Business plan, which highlights his plans to strengthen the economic security of Virginia families. McAuliffe highlighted his support for making healthcare more affordable, increasing access to higher education, and ensuring that Virginians’ retirement savings are secure.
“Our economic struggles have not been evenly distributed around Virginia – some communities, some industries, have been hit much harder than others,” McAuliffe said. “But Virginians everywhere can see what is happening, and they wonder how it may affect them. State government cannot solve all of our problems. But it should be an ally to the aspirations and goals of its citizens.”
Pointing to the one million Virginians without health insurance, McAuliffe emphasized his support for state level health care initiatives to improve the quality of care, reduce unnecessary spending, and begin to control the ever-increasing cost of health care. McAuliffe pledged to expand access to affordable health coverage by providing low-interest loans to help unemployed workers purchase health insurance when companies go out of business and they have no COBRA option. These loans can help individuals and families maintain coverage while unemployed and allow for a favorable repayment schedule when re-employed. McAuliffe said he would also allow the unemployed – as well as any individual or employer – to buy into FAMIS, FAMIS Plus or other health plans when such plans would be a more affordable option.
“As healthcare costs continue to rise, more and more families are unable to afford coverage, or opt to risk dropping coverage to afford other basic necessities,” McAuliffe said. “While reform unfolds at the federal level, we must take actions on the state level to rein in health care costs and increase access to affordable health care for recently unemployed Virginians.”
Discussing the need for a homegrown, well-educated workforce, McAuliffe pledged to make higher education more affordable for all Virginians. McAuliffe said he would create a “Scholars for Service” loan forgiveness program, whereby for two years of commitment to service, such as teaching in a high-need area or working in an under-represented profession, students would be eligible for four years of loan forgiveness. He also called for improving the the Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program (VGAP), by better marketing to high school students early in their school careers and, most importantly, guaranteeing a certain level of assistance for any student based on need and who successfully completes the requirements.
“We must do all we can to prepare our citizens for that future, including making sure they are educated and trained to take on the jobs of the future,” McAuliffe said. “Achieving some level of post-secondary education is critical to our economic success collectively as a commonwealth, as well as individually as citizens and families who are striving to achieve the American dream.”
Finally, McAuliffe pledged to increase retirement security by reducing barriers to pension participation and portability. Discussing the need for workers to save for retirement, McAuliffe said he would establish a Commonwealth IRA that would allow small employers to offer a voluntary reitrement savings program to their employees. McAuliffe also proposed allowing workers in private businesses to participate in the Commonwealth’s Deferred Compensation Program, which is currently offered to state employees and would deduct money from a participating worker’s paycheck and invest in options chosen by the employee like any typical deferred compensation plan.
McAuliffe plans to discuss these proposals, as well as to elaborate upon his ideas for assisting homeowners and first-time homebuyers with voters throughout the Commonwealth in the coming weeks.
You can find the full chapter online at http://www.terrymcauliffe.com/file_download/6/chapter3.pdf.