The Campaign Spot

Cuccinelli’s Ads and Statements More Accurate Than McAuliffe’s

“Republican Ken Cuccinelli: Running the Cleaner Campaign in Virginia . . . Technically.”

According to the scorecard, eight of the 11 McAuliffe statements investigated by PolitiFact Virginia qualified as “mostly false,” “false” or “pants on fire.” Seventy-two percent of the McAuliffe charges did not survive unbiased scrutiny.

According to the scorecard, seven of the 12 Cuccinelli statements investigated by PolitiFact Virginia qualified as “false” or “pants on fire.” Fifty-eight percent of the Cuccinelli charges did not survive unbiased scrutiny.

Cuccinelli’s percentage might be better than McAuliffe’s but it remains deplorable.

Then again, some may quibble with how PolitiFact grades the comments. They assess a Cuccinelli ad statement, “There’s only one candidate under investigation: Terry McAuliffe” to be false, because it’s only McAuliffe’s company GreenTech that’s under investigation . . . for activities when McAuliffe was chairman. McAuliffe says he hasn’t been contacted by investigators. Some would grade the Cuccinelli charge “half-true” or too early to say.

Here’s how they grade another Cuccinelli accusation against the Democrat:

Cuccinelli, in attacking McAuliffe’s ethics, says the Democrat is “the person who invented the scheme to rent out the Lincoln Bedroom.”

McAuliffe authored a memo in early 1995 listing ways Clinton could connect with top Democratic patrons. But the original note did not mention White House sleepovers; that idea was later added in the handwriting of others. McAuliffe has always denied he came up with the scheme; Clinton in 1997 took full responsibility for the idea.

No doubt, McAuliffe strongly backed the sleepovers and recommended heavy hitters that should be offered a night in the Lincoln Bedroom. But we see no evidence that McAuliffe “invented the scheme.”

We rate Cuccinelli’s statement False.

Again, you can hit Cuccinelli for using the term “invented,” but McAuliffe obviously had a major role in “the scheme.”

For what it’s worth, Cuccinelli’s newest ad, “Justice,” is a positive one:

Meanwhile, the new McAuliffe ad hits Cuccinelli for a 2008 bill that declared a married couple who have minor children may not obtain a divorce based on separation if the other party files a written objection with the court. For this, the McAuliffe campaign decrees Cuccinelli is “interfering in our private lives” and suggests the bill would only have applied to women.

Just how easy or hard do we want to make divorce for parents of minor children, particularly if one of the spouses wants to stay married?

UPDATE: Here’s a most unexpected ally for Ken Cuccinelli:

As I say in my book, I think getting a divorce should be much harder when children are involved.

For much of the 1970s and 1980s, many believed that a bad marriage was worse than a good divorce. Now, however, we know that children bear the brunt of failed marriages.

. . . Most marriages dissolve because of far less desperate circumstances. Divorce has become too easy because of our permissive laws and attitudes. Just look at our culture today: Good marriages are seldom celebrated, while every tiff or spat in a celebrity marriage becomes tabloid fodder.

For too many people, “Till death do us part” means “Till the going gets rough.” With so many marriages failing — nearly half end in divorce in our country — we need to do more to encourage parents to work out their problems, stay together and strengthen their families. In cases where problems can’t be reconciled, parents ought to put the needs of their children first in working out the terms of divorce. They must understand that their parental responsibilities continue even after a marriage splits up.

The good news is that attitudes about marriage and divorce seem to be changing. Some states are beginning to examine whether their divorce laws are too lax. Grass-roots campaigns to help preserve marriage are flourishing around the country.

– Hillary Clinton, January 27, 1996

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