Terry McAuliffe criticizes Cuccinelli on women's issues
- Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAulifffe gestures during a rally at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., Tuesday. (Photo: Associated Press)
HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) - Terry McAuliffe criticized rival Ken Cuccinelli for not backing the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act during a campaign stop Tuesday with former President Bill Clinton.
"It's just one more issue where he is way outside the mainstream," McAuliffe said.
Cuccinelli was one of three attorneys general who did not join a bipartisan push to reauthorize the law. Cuccinelli said he does not sign such letters endorsing legislation because the bills can be amended after he endorses them.
Clinton, joining his longtime pal and former Democratic National Committee chairman, said that reasoning doesn't pass the smell test.
"I'm very proud of that bill, and I am appalled that anybody would oppose both extending it and expanding its reach," Clinton said.
Cuccinelli's campaign said the criticism over the Violence Against Women Act was off base. As a student at the University of Virginia, Cuccinelli formed a student group to prevent sexual assault and agitated the school to hire a full-time sexual assault education coordinator.
McAuliffe and Democrats have been relentless in criticizing Cuccinelli's record on women's issues, such as domestic violence and abortion rights. The result has been polling that shows McAuliffe leading Cuccinelli 51 percent to 39 percent, according to a Washington Post poll released Monday. Among women, McAuliffe leads 58 percent to 34 percent.
Cuccinelli has seen his standing fall during the final weeks before the Nov. 5 election. The partial government shutdown hurt him in a state rich with federal workers and contractors. Cuccinelli also has reaffirmed his conservative principles and has all but stopped his effort to win over moderate voters.
Cuccinelli also has scaled back his television advertising given his meager cash and completely stopped advertising in the voter-rich - but moderate-to-liberal - Washington suburbs. Instead, he has worked to energize his conservative base for an election that is likely to be decided by strong partisans who show up in off-year elections.
Turnout is expected to be 40 percent of registered voters or less.
McAuliffe, who on Monday said he has $1.6 million in the bank, was also set to get a boost from the White House. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were set to campaign for McAuliffe before Election Day. First lady Michelle Obama also recorded an ad for McAuliffe.
Cuccinelli, who has just $600,000 in the bank, was not ceding the election yet and looked to his right flank to push him toward the end, just a week away. Cuccinelli was set to campaign later Tuesday with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.