McDonnell downplays the help national Democrats and Kaine will provide Deeds
In his first entry in the race to replace him. Governor Tim Kaine worked today to make the case that Senator Creigh Deeds is in an excellent position to beat Bob McDonnell in November.
Aside from whatever warm feelings the Governor has about passing his work to someone capable of picking up where he left off, Kaine has a very important personal interest in seeing Deeds win the Governor’s race. As the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Kaine is responsible for carrying forward the Barack Obama agenda and many people believe Virginia’s election will be an early test of the new President’s success.
Kaine wouldn’t talk money, perhaps the most important way we he can help the Deeds campaign, but he did talk influence. Kaine said that unlike his race four years ago, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate won’t be marginalized by popular Republican heavy-hitters who will move across the state on behalf of his opponent. In 2009, Republicans don’t hold many of the important political seats they held in 2005, leaving Bob McDonnell all alone.
((video of what Kaine and McDonnell had to say after the jump))
Here is Kaine’s quote (video included):
“In addition to these guys (Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe) and me, he’s going to have..when I ran four years ago, I had one marquee name helping me and that was Mark Warner and that was a heck of a name. But Creigh is going to have two Senators campaigning for him, not against him which I faced four years ago. He’s going to have the majority of the Virginia congressional delegation campaigning for him, not against him like I faced four years ago and he’s going to have a President and a Vice President campaigning for him not against him like I had four years ago.”
Not surprisingly, Bob McDonnell told me that help is overrated. The Republican nominee said that big names don’t change people’s minds about key issues and they can’t change a candidate’s record. He pointed to the Democratic primary as the example when he said “Bill Clinton was in here for Terry McAuliffe and got him 25% of the vote.”
But McDonnell went a step further and attempted to make the case that Tim Kaine, primarily because of his role as DNC chair, has become a liability to Creigh Deeds. Here is his quote (with video):
“And frankly Governor Kaine is now tied to the extremely liberal and big government policies of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. He is the top cheerleader for the national Democrats. He has transformed from a Virginia Democrat to a national Democrat and I think that is what the voters just rejected with Terry McAuliffe.”
Is this a charge that could stick? Do Virginians care about high profile Democrats, or is it a certain kind of high profile Democrat that would sway them? There is no doubt that Deeds will use every resource available to him and we will learn in November just how big of an impact that help will provide.
The Democratic Party of Virginia has rushed to Kaine’s defense, pointing out that Bob McDonnell has already taken advantage of national Republican help. They also attempted to make the argument that Governor Kaine will make a better surrogate for Creigh Deeds than anyone the Republicans have brought in.
Here is spokesman Jared Leopold‘s statement: