Steve Albertson provides play-by-play commentary on tonight’s final gubernatorial debate from Blacksburg
7:02: McAuliffe complains about false and negative attacks? That’s chutzpah.
7:03: Very defensive, negative opening by T-Mac. Smooth opening by Cuccinelli.
705: Groan….Vince Callahan. Terry’s shallowness on budget details exudes.
7:18: Good move to emphasize importance of mental health (and his strength there) when talking about gun control. Wish he would have made a reference to meddling from Nanny Bloomberg.
7:20: Ken nails it on the War on Coal.
7:22: TMac: “You can’t grow an economy by suing scientists.”
7:23: “Magic money tree.” Nice line.
7:24: Here we go with the trope on contraception. Can a Democrat have a discussion without contraception being an issue?
7:25: OK. I’ll quit saying anything about the contraception thing being a false trope. Ken must agree with it, as he just let TMac get away with it? Should have addressed it head-on…buried it in an otherwise sterling response to the “rigid ideologue” attack.
7:28: McAuliffe touting his endorsements from RINO scum as evidence of an ability to be bipartisan. Actually pretty effective response.
7:29: Ken: “I’m strongest pro-liberty candidate in my lifetime.” Amen.
7:30: McAuliffe lies about wanting Sarvis in debates “from day one.” Slides into VAWA smear. There should be some mechanism in the rules for the moderators to allow responses to attacks…this smear just got let go.
7:33: Ken cites p. 77 of Terry’s book about raising money for kickbacks and pork. Great, great, line of attack. Ken talks about how his brand of politics is different, and gets practical results on energy prices. But, he missed the opportunity to rue the power of money to conduct character assassination.
7:35: Gotta hand it to Terry…he’s got all the attacks and lies ready and hand and well-polished.
7:39: “More platitudes and no plans.” Ken: “All puppy and no plan.” Emphasizing McAuliffe’s unseriousness. Nice.
7:41: Terry: Universal pre-k is one of my most important priorities. — This is nothing but government sponsored daycare.
7:44: From Roger Simon on Twitter: “McAulliffe oppo research team probably working to prove Cuccinelli does NOT like puppies. #VAGovDebate”
7:46: I wonder if higher education is “SOOOO important” (Tmac’s words) if he’ll find some Medicaid money for that.
7:51: I’ve noticed that EVERY answer provided by McAuliffe comes with an attack on Ken embedded. I know this can be effective, but wonder if after a while this backfires?
7:58: Live feed on WDBJ switched to commercials during Cuccinelli’s closing, came back during TMac’s. So, can’t really comment. Wonder if that’s a coincidence?
Overall, I don’t think McAuliffe scored any points here. Anyone who is going to be swayed by his attack dog rhetoric on divisiveness and vaginas was already there. But, he was smooth and articulate, and didn’t stumble too much when skipping over the details.
Ken did a very nice job (until I lost the feed at least). Based on what I saw, I think he had the more effective arguments, looked more Gubernatorial, sounded better informed, and above all, he stood out as the more serious and credible candidate. Though Cuccinelli fell short in responding to all the attacks, I agree with him that at some point you can’t just be trapped into reacting to everything that’s said. A better debate format would have allowed moderators more flexibility to explore the bombs McAuliffe was throwing, but absent that, Ken probably handled it all the right way. Depending on how many undecideds were watching, I think this may have a positive impact on the polls for Ken.