Republicans attack Democratic “Common Sense Tour”
While Democrats continue to make the argument that Virginians are up in arms over the Republicans refusal to expand unemployment benefits, the Republicans are not backing down. Today the GOP held a press conference where they outlined specific points that they claim show, they had Virginia workers best interests in mind when the turned back the expansion and the $125 million in stimulus funds that came with it.
Democrats feel they have made progress with voters by harping on the issue. All three candidates for Governor are among more than 9,000 Virginians that have signed an online petition attacking the Republican’s move and calling for a change in leadership.
In addition to the GOP press event (which I will have more on later), the Republican Governor’s Association put out a press release today, calling the Democratic “Common Sense Tour” a failure. The Common Sense Tour followed Bob McDonnell around the commonwealth hoping to find Virginians angry over McDonnell’s decision to support the Republicans in the House and their opposition to the unemployment expansion. The release points to two different independent press accounts they reported a minimal response to the Common Sense effort.
**UPDATE** Common Sense Virginia sent me a response to the RGA’s release. They claim that “Bob McDonnell either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the challenges Virginians face in these tough economic times.” Their entire statement can be found after the jump as well.
Whether or not this is indicative of the success Democrats are having in gaining support over the issue is up for debate, but it does show that Republicans are attempting to stop the bleeding.
Tonight on NBC12 news and here on Decision Virginia, I will take a closer look at the issue and the marked change in the ultimate goals by Democrats when it comes to the battle over the unemployment benefits expansion.
The full release from the Republican Governor’s Association and the Common Sense response is after the jump..
ICYMI: ‘Common Sense Virginia’ Tour Sputters
Relying on paid D.C. operatives and spinning misinformation, Common Sense Virginia, an astro-turf group funded by labor unions and national Democrats to attack Bob McDonnell, is having trouble finding Virginians willing to criticize him.
Bristol Herald Courier: Video Crew Finds Few McDonnell Complaints in Bristol
“The reception to a campaign critical of Virginia GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell was as chilly Wednesday as the weather outside the Virginia Employment Commission office.”
“Of about a dozen people the pair approached outside the local unemployment office, only one man agreed to speak on camera – and that occurred after the Bristol Herald Courier left.
Cohen e-mailed the newspaper a copy of the audio from the man’s interview, but the file wouldn’t play.”
“Two young men with Democratic links who are visiting Virginia’s employment offices made Lynchburg their fifth stop
Wednesday for planting questions about Republican Bob McDonnell’s gubernatorial campaign.”
“They tried to get people to talk on video about McDonnell’s stand on unemployment benefits. First, they had to explain McDonnell’s position to nearly everyone.”
“Cohen previously worked for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington. Vice was a regional field director in the Hillary Clinton for President campaign.”
“Cohen and Vice were telling people in Lynchburg that McDonnell’s position amounted to a refusal to expand unemployment benefits.
Actually, the General Assembly did accept some of the federal stimulus package for unemployment and added a few weeks of eligibility for many laid-off workers.”
RESPONSE FROM COMMON SENSE VIRGINIA:
Spokesperson Yoni Cohen:
“Throughout our tour, we’ve heard from Virginians who are upset with Bob McDonnell for his cruel decision to deny expanded unemployment benefits to citizens working part-time or training for new jobs. Simply put, Bob McDonnell’s out of touch. After decades working on behalf of wealthy corporations and right wing-special interests – and even though he claims to be ‘sort of unemployed’ – Bob McDonnell either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the challenges Virginians face in these tough economic times.”
YouTube clips from their tour:
Independent media coverage:
“Of all the bad luck going around in a recession, Quinton Patterson hit a bad streak.
“He got laid off in September, picked up work in November, then got laid off again in February.
“Tuesday morning, the 33-year-old Roanoker stood in the parking lot of a local employment office, with a hat that said “Jesus [hearts] me” and a hope to find work.
“‘With Him, I can do all things,’ Patterson said, but added that a little support from Richmond can’t hurt. ‘With the state, it helps also.’
“It was precisely the sort of story that a pair of 20-somethings with a rented minivan and a video camera are gathering on a cross-state campaign that aims to discredit Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell…
“Meanwhile, did Patterson have a message for McDonnell, the tour wanted to know?
“‘Change your mind,” the man urged. “Because without your income, what do you have?'”