RICHMOND, October 29, 2013 ( – At this weekend’s candidate forum for the Virginia Governor’s race, Democratic contender Terry McAuliffe continued the streak of attacks against his rivals pro-life and pro-family views that have taken over the state’s TV and radio airwaves during the past two weeks. 

During the forum, Cuccinelli had defended his advocacy against abortion-on-demand, explaining, “I love children, and I think we ought to have a governor who loves our children.”

But McAuliffe scoffed at this remark.  “We all love children,” he retorted.  “But there are big issues we have to deal with.”


While Cuccinelli has run a campaign mostly focused on job creation, economic policy, and school reform, McAuliffe has made attacks on Cuccinelli’s pro-life record the centerpiece of his campaign. The former Clinton adviser and DNC chairman has outspent his Republican rival Ken Cuccinelli at least 10-to-1 on negative advertising. With a lot of help from Planned Parenthood’s political action arm, the pro-abortion democrat has cast Cuccinelli’s history of advocacy for the unborn as a “war on women” and painted him in recent ads as an “extremist.”

“Ken is way out there,” warned one recent Planned Parenthood mailing, recounting how Cuccinelli fought for restrictions on abortion-on-demand as attorney general, and as a state senator voted to overturn then-Democratic Governor Mark Warner's veto of the partial-birth abortion ban. 

Cuccinelli also drafted Virginia’s parental consent law, led efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and demanded the state's abortion facilities meet the same health standards as other surgical centers.  All of that, according to Planned Parenthood, makes Cuccinelli “extremely dangerous for women.”

But according to Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix, it is McAuliffe who is the true extremist, for supporting “taxpayer funded abortions, abortion up to the moment of birth, and abortion for sex selection.” 

The third candidate present at Saturday's forum, Libertarian Robert Sarvis, also dismissed the abortion issue as a “metaphysical disagreement” in which the government has no right choosing sides.

Sarvis, a former lawyer, is seen by many as a spoiler in the race, given that he consistently draws the support of 10 percent of voters in polls. Those supporters would likely switch the race’s momentum from McAuliffe to Cuccinelli, assuming the Libertarian is drawing most of his supporters from the pool of people who might otherwise be inclined to vote for the Republican.

Underscoring this, libertarian-leaning U.S. Senator Rand Paul, considered a likely contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, arrived in Virginia Monday to campaign for Cuccinelli, appearing alongside him at Liberty University in Roanoke, the Phillipine Cultural Center in Virginia Beach, and at the Waterford event center in Fairfax County. 

Paul had previously endorsed Cuccinelli and talked up his libertarian economic views. 

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“I consider myself to be a libertarian conservative, a libertarian Republican,” Paul told reporters last week. “A lot of things [Cuccinelli] talks about are free-market, limited-government, leave-me-alone government. I think there is a lot to like there.”  Paul praised Cuccinelli for his intelligence and “keen sense of justice,” and told reporters that his early lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare was  “one of the things that catapulted a nationwide debate over the constitutionality of the health care law.”

Also stumping for Cuccinelli this weekend were former Arkansas governor and presidential contender Mike Huckabee, a popular national figure with social conservatives; and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, who slammed McAuliffe’s team for lumping all women together in an imagined single-issue, pro-abortion voting block. 

“They’re totally dismissing the fact that women are smart, we think for ourselves,” Haley said. “We don’t decide based on one issue. We decide who we’re going to vote for based on a lot of issues.”

“The women in Virginia will do their homework in this race,” Haley added. “They will realize that for the good of economic success in Virginia, for our families, for our lifestyles and for the future of Virginia, women will go for Ken Cuccinelli.”

Sen. Paul, Gov. Huckabee and Gov. Haley weren’t the only national heavy-hitters who traveled to Virginia this weekend to stump for one candidate or the other. 

Also on hand to promote McAuliffe this past Saturday was Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards, who has called Ken Cuccinelli’s defeat her organization’s “top priority.”

Planned Parenthood has worked closely with McAuliffe throughout the campaign, producing numerous ads and mailings attacking Cuccinelli for his pro-life views, especially his determination to end public funding of the abortion group.

Planned Parenthood also paired up with McAuliffe to launch a website, “Keep Ken Out,” devoted to attacking the Republican candidate on life issues.

“Access to safe and legal abortion, and even contraception, would be at risk in a Cuccinelli Administration,” the website claims. “The future of Virginia women’s health hangs in the balance, that’s why we’re going to make sure voters know exactly how out-of-touch he is, and why we need to keep Ken out of the governor’s office.”

Cuccinelli told supporters this weekend via e-mail that McAuliffe’s claim about his position on contraception is a flat-out lie.  

“No legislation I have ever supported would have – or even could have – ‘outlawed contraception’ as McAuliffe asserts,” wrote Cuccinelli, “and I do not support legislation banning contraception.”

Cuccinelli added that even if someone wanted to ban contraception, it would be impossible under federal law.  “The reason for this is simple,” he wrote.  “The U.S. Supreme Court held in two cases, Griswold and Eisenstadt, that the government can't ban contraception.  Those cases are decades old.  This is a long-settled area of law.” Said Cuccinelli, “Terry McAuliffe is a Washington, D.C. lawyer, so he is well aware that what he is saying is false.”

McAuliffe was also joined on the campaign trail by former president and close friend Bill Clinton for a four-day tour of the state, hitting mostly heavily blue districts where Clinton is still popular. 

Previously, Clinton’s wife, former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, stumped for McAuliffe at an event in Falls Church.  And next Sunday, President Barack Obama is expected to campaign with McAuliffe, just two days before voters go to the polls to make their decision.

Right now, factoring in Libertarian candidate Sarvis’s possible 8-10 percent percent take, McAuliffe holds a 12-point lead over Cuccinelli, according to a new Washington Post poll.  That means Cuccinelli will be more dependent than ever on his socially conservative base to turn out November 5 if he is to have any hope of winning.

Cuccinelli’s pro-life supporters are aware of the stakes.

Olivia Gans Turner, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life, which fights for restrictions on abortion, told the Washington Post, “If we hold a pro-life majority in the House of Delegates and perhaps gain more pro-life seats in the Senate, I see almost a stalemate of activity.” Added Turner, “Terry McAuliffe would put up a roadblock for passage of pro-life bills. It means we’d lose four years providing protection to the most innocent among us.”

For more information about the candidiates:

Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

Democrat Terry McAuliffe

Libertarian Robert Sarvis