RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–Virginia’s gubernatorial hopefuls couldn’t let April Fool’s Day pass without attempting to make a fool out of their opponent.
Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign, at 7 a.m. Monday, sent a fake press release seeming to praise the efforts of Democrat opponent Terry McAullife. Democrat strategist Paul Goldman called the strategy childish.
“There’s nobody that could see that as humorous, that wasn’t funny to anybody,” said Goldman.
The release starts by saying that McAuliffe is bringing manufacturing jobs to Virginia. Then a few lines later in bold red was the proclamation, “April Fool’s.”
The release went on to challenge McAuliffe’s commitment to Virginia, explaining that McAuliffe’s electric car company is based in Mississippi.
Conservative blogger Norm Leahy thinks the approach is effective.
“This is actually a fairly good use of social media because it gets it out there, it humanizes them and it’s something you haven’t necessarily seen in the past,” Leahy said.
By 10 a.m. the Democratic Party of Virginia sent out a release. Their release read, “Breaking News, Cuccinelli Resigns” and cited conflicts of interest with a drug company and an inability to do his job impartially as the reasons.
The back and forth started a flurry of internet conversation, which some say is an effort to capture young voters.
“They’re trying to show we’re hip, we’re cool, we use Twitter too,” Goldman said.
Leahy says the unusual tactic may be the most cordial exchange we see between Cuccinelli and McAuliffe. “Probably at midnight tonight they’ll be back to the same old you don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re a dangerous radical etc. etc.,” he said.
EXCERPTS FROM PRESS RELEASES
From Cuccinelli camp:
Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Terry McAuliffe today announced a major commitment to bringing manufacturing jobs to Virginia. McAuliffe, the former Democrat party boss, said his company, GreenTech would soon be opening a factory outside of Fredericksburg. McAuliffe’s campaign released the following video to announce the new endeavor.
Terry McAuliffe chose to base his electric car company in Mississippi. Then he blamed the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) for refusing to bid on GreenTech’s contract, a statement that was quickly proven false by Politifact. Turns out, McAuliffe never even gave VEDP the necessary information to offer GreenTech a package!
The biggest joke today is Terry McAuliffe claiming to put Virginia jobs first.
Happy April Fool’s Day!
From McAuliffe camp:
Richmond, VA – Today in a surprising turn of events, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced that he will resign as Virginia’s Attorney General. Cuccinelli said in a statement that issues like his conflict of interest with drug company Star Scientific and his ideological attacks on the bipartisan transportation compromise are making it impossible for him to do his job impartially…
…Cuccinelli had previously refused to follow the precedent of the past 6 Attorneys General and resign, even as news broke that he failed to disclose holding thousands in stock from a company that is suing Virginia to avoid paying $700,000 in taxes. Cuccinelli’s office insists its failure to move forward on its case against Star Scientific since August of 2011 has nothing to do with the stock he owns or the $13,000 in gifts its CEO gave Cuccinelli that year. Still, he acknowledged that Virginians deserve better than to wonder whether Cuccinelli’s financial stake and close relationship with the company led him to sandbag the lawsuit….
…In other news, the Democratic Party of Virginia today wished all Virginians a happy April Fool’s Day and expressed sympathy to voters who are realizing that this prank may be the only time they read about Ken Cuccinelli putting growing our economy and preserving government accountability and transparency ahead of his personal agenda…