President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally with supporters for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, right, at Washington Lee High School in Arlington, Va., Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013.
Cliff Owen/AP

Obama stumps for McAuliffe


With less than 48 hours before polls open, President Obama warned that Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli was too extreme for Virginia, and urged voters to get behind his Democratic opponent.

Governors “can’t afford to be ideologues,” Obama said at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Sunday. “They have to work with people to get job done.” 

Voters will choose the next governor of Virginia on Tuesday. A recent poll shows McAuliffe leading Cuccinelli by seven points, 45-38, with 51 percent of women voters in Virginia supporting the Democrat. While he has maintained a steady lead since August, it is expected to be a tight race. 

Obama was the latest in a string of high-profile supporters to make appearances for McAuliffe, the former head of the Democratic National Committee.

Both Bill and HIllary Clinton made stops recently, and television star Kerry Washington also came to McAuliffe’s aid. The marquee names are part of a massive push to put a Democrat in the governor’s mansion of the swing state before the next round of elections.

Obama’s speech hit hard against Cuccinelli for his hard-line conservative positions and for prizing ideology over economic growth. Speaking of Cuccinelli’s fondness for legislation aimed at women’s bodies, Obama said, “You don’t create jobs and help the people of Virginia by trying to restrict the the health care choices women make.” 

“Trying to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood will not grow our economy or help middle class families get ahead,” he said. “It doesn’t make sure that our daughters have same opportunities as our sons.”

In a nod to the state’s purple history, Obama praised compromise and bipartisanship even as he held up McAuliffe’s positions as the only “common sense” options.

Opposing Cuccinelli and conservative Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, both of whom have made stops in Virginia recently, “isn’t political,” the president said. “It’s about what’s true. You don’t argue with facts.”

The president also highlighted Cuccinelli’s support of the 16 day government shutdown that had a devastating effect on thousands of people. Virginia is home to thousands of government employees who were forced to deal with furloughs and loss of income.

“Lately, you’ve seen an extreme faction of the Republican Party shown again and again that they’re willing to hijack entire party and country and economy and grind progress to absolute halt if they don’t get 100% of what they want,” he said.  ”This isn’t a game.”

Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to headline a McAuliffe event Monday.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe