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Archive for March 2012

Priebus comes to Richmond as RNC kicks off anti-ObamaCare ad campaign

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 Just a few days after they launched a robo-call campaign targeting Virginia seniors, the Republican National Committee is back, this time launching a series of TV ads in Richmond attacking President Barack Obama on health care reform.

Chairman Reince Priebus came to Richmond Wednesday to talk about the impact Republicans believe the Affordable Care Act will have on Virginia. Priebus was joined by Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, VA Victory Chairman and potential candidate Pete Snyder, RPV Chair Pat Mullins and Dave Napier a Shockoe Bottom business owner.

The overwhelming impression that the GOP is hoping to leave is that the potential for a federal mandate may start with health care, it could lead to many other things.

“You’ve got Barack Obama who believes that government can be a European sized huge entity that can tell you what insurance to buy, what foods to eat, what you should wear,” Priebus said. “And we believe there has to come to end with this government overreach.”

But democrats aren’t shying away from their association with the program that republicans love to refer to as “ObamaCare”.  Richmond Del. Jennifer McClellan (D) said that her side is ready and willing to be on the side of health care reform.

“It has helped millions of americans and Virginians who have health insurance who otherwise wouldn’t,” said McClellan  “A lot of us are one illness away from being poor.”

It could be the issue that decides the election. We are a long way away from November but both sides seem prepared to draw a clear line between “for” and “against” and let the voters decide.

The RNC ad that is already running in the Richmond market can be found below.

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Cuccinelli to watch and provide analysis of health care hearing

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The fight over the federal Affordable Care Act or “ObamaCare” has become one of the top priorities of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli‘s during his time in office. Cuccinelli chose to challenge the law on his own, instead of joining up with several other states that filed similar lawsuits.

In the early going, the decision to strike out on his own, brought Cuccinelli and Virginia big headlines because of early wins. Virginia successfully kept the suit from being dismissed and then won the argument at the first level. But as other suits quickly made their way through the federal courts, the Cuccinelli suit got hung up at the appellate level. He didn’t really win or lose, the case was dismissed because a three judge panel in in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals determined there wasn’t enough information for them to rule on the case.

The Supreme Court, which had already elected to hear other challenges to the health care reform decided not to take up Virginia’s suit.

But even though the Cuccinelli lawsuit itself won’t be among those being heard over a historic three day marathon session at the Supreme Court, that doesn’t mean our Attorney General won’t be involved. Cuccinelli will be in Washington, D.C. for all three days of arguments and will hold teleconference calls after each session to provide his analysis.

Many of the arguments made will be similar to the claims Cuccinelli has argued since first filing Virginia’s lawsuit. Chief among them, can the Federal Government require ever American to have health insurance or pay a fine?

The answer could have major implications for the upcoming presidential election and perhaps even carry over into 2013, when Cuccinelli asks Virginia voters to promote him to governor.

We’ll have full coverage of today’s hearing and Cuccinelli’s reaction today on NBC12.

Written by Ryan Nobles

March 26, 2012 at 10:23 am

GOP targets Virginia with anti-ObamaCare robo call

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They don’t have a candidate yet, but that is not stopping the Republican National Committee from going to work attacking President Barack Obama.

The RNC has launched a robo call effort tied into the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law. The calls will delivered to voters 65 and older who have been identified as independents. The call hammers the president’s health care reform effort and threatens serious ramifications as the law continues to be implemented.

“Instead of the relief he promised, health care premiums are rising, budget deficits skyrocket, and 6 million Seniors will lose their prescription drug benefits,” says a female narrator in a 33 second recorded call. The narrator identifies herself as “Rebecca from the RNC”.

The call than encourages the listener to visit the RNC’s web site or call a phone number to learn more about how they can Help them “defeat” Obama in November.

These robo calls are just one front in a coordinated effort to make health care reform a central issue in the 2012 campaign. Republicans on all levels found ways to mark the anniversary of what they call “ObamaCare”. The picture above shows a banner hung today outside RNC headquarters in Washington, D.C. (courtesy Weekly Standard)

The White House did not mark the event themselves, but democrats did signal that they will not run away from their association to health care reform. The official Barack Obama twitter page retweeted and fired off messages of their own under the hash tag banner “#ilikeobamacare”. The move is a significant development because “ObamaCare” is a generally used as a negative name for health care reform designed to attach the president to its passage.

During his press briefing today White House Press Secretary Jay Carney argued that more and more people are benefiting from health care reform. He said the GOP is proposing to halt that progress. “They wanna go back to a system where insurance companies have all the rules on their side,” he said.

Expect this to just be the beginning of the battle over health care reform, with Virginia front and center. The RNC is blasting this call out to 10 states, all of them swing states, all of them expected to play a key role in deciding who the next president will be.

We will play a portion of the call tonight on NBC12 News at 11.

The full call and transcript can be found below:

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In 2008 Barack Obama campaigned on the promise of providing relief to American families and creating jobs. Instead of the relief he promised, health care premiums are rising, budget deficits skyrocket, and 6 million Seniors will lose their prescription drug benefits. America can’t afford 4 more years of Barack Obama. Help us defeat Obama in November. Visit www.gop.com

Written by Ryan Nobles

March 23, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Poll shows positive signs for Obama in Virginia

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

President Barack Obama has made Virginia an important focus and it is paying off. A new poll from Quinnipiac shows Obama opening up his largest lead in the 2012 campaign. He is up 8 points.  The poll also revealed that Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell would have a negligible impact on the ultimate outcome of the race.

See the full poll on Quinnipiac’s web site

It is early, but the Obama campaign has to be thankful that their work leading to success.  Team Obama already has a great deal of paid staff on the ground and the president has made many visits to the commonwealth. Democrats also believe that their work drawing attention to controversial bills in the General Assembly on abortion and gun rights are having an impact. According to this poll, Obama leads Mitt Romney among women 52%-39%.

Of course it is very early and Romney paid no attention to Virginia during the GOP primary because of the lack of competition. He has almost no organized staff on the ground here and his only visits have been private fundraisers.  And it is also worth mentioning that he is not the official nominee quite yet.

I have more on what this poll means in the context of the 2012 race on NBC12.com.

RICHMOND (WWBT)-  The topsy-turvy Virginia political picture took another turn today, with a new poll that is filled with good news for President Obama.  It is just one poll, but democrats are very satisfied with what it says in many key areas that will be vital to the November election.

It is still a very close race, but it appears that President Obama’s intense focus on the commonwealth is starting to pay off.  A new poll conducted by Quinnipiac shows the Obama- Biden ticket with their largest lead in Virginia, 8 points over Mitt Romney.

Democrats credit the intense focus on social issues in the recent general assembly session as part of their success. They have coordinated on all levels to bring a bright focus to bills, sponsored by republicans impacting abortion and guns.

That may have pushed Obama to a 52%- 39% lead with women.

But republicans have yet to pick a candidate. While Romney is in the lead, The GOP nomination isn’t sealed. On CNN Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said the long primary is not a problem.

“He’s getting more and more endorsements from key people, conservatives, independents, moderates,” said McDonnell, Romney supporter.  “I think he’ll be the nominee and I think it will be by June.”

read and see the whole story on NBC12.com.

Written by Ryan Nobles

March 20, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Prince George officials upset over POTUS geographic snub

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Tip O’Neill the late Speaker of the House once said “all politics is local” and that includes national politics. Members of the Prince George County Board of Supervisors are openly expressing their disappointment that President Barack Obama chose to talk about being in Petersburg instead of Prince George, during his visit to the Rolls Royce plant last Friday.

I was at the event and many people from Prince George stopped to ask me why the president chose to talk about Petersburg instead of Prince George. Those in attendance told me that despite being so close on the map and even some sections of Prince George having Petersburg mailing addresses, the plant was distinctly part of Prince George.

The scuttle has gone from quiet whispers to a full-blown complaints, even one member of the Prince George County Board of Supervisors asking the White House for an apology.

Our Tri-Cities reporter Nicole Bell covered the story for NBC12. Here is what she found:

PRINCE GEORGE, VA (WWBT)-  A controversy is brewing over President Barack Obama’s visit to Prince George last week.

He was standing in the county for his speech but most of the spotlight fell about three miles away.

And it’s those three miles that have county leaders filing a complaint to the white house.

The president came to town to talk jobs and the economy but during his roughly 25 minutes he mentioned the city of Petersburg at least 5 times.

 “…It’s great to be back in Petersburg.”

 “….right here in Petersburg VA.”

 “…before towns like Petersburg can get back on there feet,” said Obama.

Problem is,  the president was not in Petersburg but neighboring Prince George County –home of the Rolls Royce plant where the president chose to deliver his speech.  The Rolls Royce facility sits on a thousand acres in the northwest part of the county — about 3 miles away from Petersburg city limits.

The vice chair on the board of supervisors, Jerry Skalsky, says he’s received dozens of phone calls from residents asking why Prince George was not mentioned once by the president.

 “Somebody messed up. We didn’t get any recognition,” said Skalsky.”  

….read the rest of Nicole’s story on NBC12.com

The issue was a hot topic at a recent Prince George Board of Supervisors meeting. After the jump is the full transcript of the email sent by Board of Supervisors member Alan Carmichael asking the White House for an apology.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ryan Nobles

March 15, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Kaine campaign unearths footage of Allen in 2000 calling for disclosure

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Despite George Allen‘s resistance to come to come to some sort of an agreement on campaign deal to end “secret money” in the Virginia senate race, The Kaine campaign is not ready to back down.  Today they released a web video with news clips of Tuesday’s coverage of the challenge and included a clip from Allen’s 2000 run for senate, where he talks about the importance of disclosing the source of campaign funds.

The clip is a segment from a debate between Allen and then incumbent Sen. Chuck Robb (D).

“We need disclosure so we know who is contributing to these campaigns,” said Allen.  “And I think that the people of Virginia ought to know who is making those contributions.” 

Here is the Kaine web video, the clip from the debate hits at at about :34 seconds.

Yesterday, Allen said that is was hard to take Kaine’s claims of transparency seriously when he was recieving funds from out of state labor groups like the AFL-CIO which often pick candidates without the full consent of their membership. Today the National Republican Senatorial Committee echoed that charge. His campaign also argued that an agreement like this is impossible and was nothing more than a ‘Washington political stunt.”

Meanwhile, Politico is reporting that Kaine himself will soon benefit from a SuperPac of his own. A group of democratic consultants have formed the PAC and expect to launch soon.

“If Tim Kaine is truly serious about restoring transparency and accountability in our campaign finance laws, why does he support a mandatory union donation system in which hard-working men and women in Virginia have money stripped from their paychecks every month without their say?” asked Brian Walsh, an NRSC spokesman.

Lily Adams Kaine’s press secretary said  “It is unfortunate that George Allen’s inside-the-beltway mentality has caused him to now abandon Virginia’s long-held principle of campaign disclosure after he publicly embraced it multiple times.”

Written by Ryan Nobles

March 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Kaine, Allen spar over third party spending

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

It was a spark first lit back in December during the first, and so far only, debate for U.S. Senate from Virginia. I asked former Senator George Allen (R) his opinion of third-party spending in his race especially after the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

Here is the entire exchange unedited:

In case you missed it.. or didn’t feel like watching the video, Gov. Tim Kaine challenged Allen to tell the third party groups to stay out of Virginia.

At the post-debate in the press gaggle, Allen essentially closed any door that he might be open to teaming up with Kaine on a no-SuperPac pledge. After a few months, and the day after a new pro-allen SuperPac launched, the Kaine team decided to embrace Allen’s stance that he supports the way Virginia handles campaign finance. Essentially, unlimited donations but full disclosure where those donations are coming from.

Kaine sent Allen a letter asking him to have the two campaigns meet to carve out a plan to keep third-party “secret” money out of the Virginia senate campaign.

More from my story on NBC12.com:

RICHMOND (WWBT)- A unique proposal in the race for U.S. Senate, Tim Kaine is asking his likely opponent George Allen to team up to ask third-party groups, with secret donors to stay out of Virginia.

This proposal was borne out of a question I asked during a debate in December as part of our “Buying a Voice” segment.

The Allen camp calls Kaine’s idea: “A Washington political gimmick”

Despite being 10 months away from the election third-party groups are pouring cash into Virginia. Tim Kaine told me that Virginians deserve to know where the cash is coming from.

“If you won’t agree to no SuperPacs,” said Kaine “At least we should all be to agree no secret money.”

Kaine thinks Allen should be on board with the plan, based on what he said in the December debate.

“I’ve always been an advocate of ‘disclosure and freedom,’ said Allen.

In a response to Kaine’s request, Allen said it was “Hard to take (Kaine) seriously” because he took a sizeable donation from the AFL-CIO despite hoping to represent a right to work state.

The republican said most union members have no say over where their dues go when it comes to supporting candidates.

…read the full story on NBC12.com

Governor Kaine only spoke to NBC12 about his proposal. Our full interview with him can be found below:

See the transcripts of the letters from both campaigns after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ryan Nobles

March 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm