In campaign stop, Obama rips tea party
President Barack Obama cast Republican Ken Cuccinelli on Sunday as part of an extreme tea party faction that shut down the government, throwing the political weight of the White House behind Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the final days of a bitter race for governor.
Seeking an upset, Cuccinelli cast this week’s Virginia gubernatorial election as a referendum on Obama’s troubled national health care law.
National issues that have divided Democrats and Republicans spilled into the race and colored the final hours of campaigning ahead of Tuesday’s vote. As one of just two gubernatorial races in the nation, the results of Tuesday’s elections could hold clues about voter attitudes and both parties’ messages heading into the 2014 midterm elections.
Obama tore into Cuccinelli as an ideologue unwilling to compromise, while Cuccinelli was telling his supporters that Tuesday’s election will be a test for the health care law and McAuliffe’s support for it.
“No more Obamacare in Virginia. That’s the message we can send,” Cuccinelli said in Weyers Cave, a small town northwest of Charlottesville, as he began a day that was taking him from airport to airport, many in Republican-rich regions in southern and western Virginia.
A short time later, in northern Virginia on the outskirts of Washington, Obama said a vote for McAuliffe would be a vote for progress. He said Cuccinelli wanted Virginia voters to forget that the Republican’s like-minded counterparts in Congress just weeks earlier had taken the economy, the nation and the economy hostage, hurting Virginians in the process.
“Now he says it’s in the rearview mirror. It can’t be in the rearview mirror if this is your operative theory of politics,” Obama told a crowd of 1,600 gathered in a high school gymnasium in Arlington.