From NBC's Ali Weinberg
Seeking to re-launch his campaign after trailing in recent polls, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds gave a speech today in vote-rich Northern Virginia in which he contrasted his records and policies with those of his Republican opponent, Bob McDonnell.
Deeds criticized McDonnell's fiscal policies by linking him to George W. Bush. "Just recently he said he believes President Bush did a good job and he created -- and I am quoting here -- 'an economic revival in America.' The fiscal policies of George Bush doubled the national debt and results in over 300,000 Virginians losing their jobs and 48,000 Virginia families losing their homes to foreclosure."
He also drew stark contrasts with McDonnell on social issues like abortion, stem cells, and birth control. "He sponsored 35 bills in the General Assembly to restrict a woman's right to choose," Deeds said of McDonnell. "He introduced legislation to create a different 'class' of marriage four separate times. He supported legislation allowing a pharmacist to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions. He supports vouchers for private schools. He opposes stem cell research and believes that government should interfere in a family's most personal decisions like those of Terri Schiavo and Hugh Finn."
Delivering his speech from George Mason University, Deeds also attached himself to the legacies of former and current Virginia Govs. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, Democrats who won the most recent gubernatorial contests in the state.
"My approach is best illustrated by my support for Mark Warner's 2004 bipartisan budget reform plan. My opponent opposed this historic budget agreement, which many in his own party supported," Deeds said. "My opponent opposed that plan, opposed moderates in his own party, and continues to voice support for the failed economic policies of the past."
Deeds also outlined his plans for governor, including:
-- an additional $40 million per year for college financial aid;
-- a permanent "Efficiency Improvement Office," headed by a director who would review all state agencies, beginning with the Virginia Information Technologies Agency; and
-- providing a tax credit for every job an employer creates.
*** UPDATE *** McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin fired off this response: "That was the most backwards looking speech ever given by a Virginia gubernatorial nominee. If Creigh Deeds thinks blowing the dust off an old political playbook amounts to a major new announcement, he doesn't get what the voters of Virginia are looking for in their next governor. Virginians need jobs and opportunity. Instead, Creigh Deeds is focused on history lessons about former governors and presidents, and trying to bring back old time wedge politics to tear Virginians apart."