In a debate Wednesday between the Democratic and Republican candidates for Virginia governor, current state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) said that he has done more to protect women than any other state elected official. In the video embedded below, Cuccinelli told moderator Chuck Todd and the debate audience that women should be grateful for the programs he has participated in and sponsored.
According to the transcript published by the Washington Post, the controversial attorney general was parrying a question posed by his Democratic opponent, former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe.
McAuliffe accused Cuccinelli of running the AG’s office on an “ideological agenda,” accusing him of being anti-woman and anti-LGBT, saying, “Whether it be women’s health centers, where he bullied the Board of Health to shut them down. He sponsored ‘personhood’ legislation that would outlaw most forms of contraception, would make the pill illegal.”
He continued, “He’s referred to gay Virginians as ‘self-destructive and soulless human beings.’ He was one of only three attorney generals when the Violence Against Women Act was being reauthorized in the United States Congress. 47 attorney generals signed a letter, violence against women, not controversial. He is one of three who refused to sign it. It has been a pattern.”
Cuccinelli responded by saying that this characterization of his record is unfair. “It’s overwhelmingly negative. It is unbelievably false. And no one up here, no one up here has done more to protect women, which is a focus of his attacks, than I have.”
“Whether it was back when I was an engineering student at UVA and a friend of mine was sexually assaulted,” he said, “my response was to start a new organization that’s still functioning there to protect young women at UVA. And it was the first of its kind in the country. We run multiple domestic violence programs in the Attorney General’s Office. And we started from scratch fighting human trafficking. And we’ve done a great job of it.”
In fact, under Cuccinelli’s stewardship, Virginia law has taken a hard right turn with regards to women’s health and reproductive decisions. With the AG office’s blessing, Republicans in the state legislature have ratified dozens of new laws designed to shut down women’s clinics that perform abortions.
Furthermore, Cuccinelli mounted his own campaign to have the state’s sodomy laws reinstated so as to make all forms of sex outside of the heterosexual missionary position illegal in the state.
The far-right Republican’s term in office has been so markedly prudish and anti-woman that he even mandated that the bare breast of the Roman goddess Virtus on the state’s seal must be covered henceforth. The seal was originally adopted in 1776.
In recent weeks, Cuccinelli has seen his poll numbers plunge in the gubernatorial race. Part of the precipitous drop in support has been a mass desertion of the candidate by Virginia women, who are endorsing McAuliffe over Cuccinelli at a rate of 50 to 32 percent.
Watch video from the debate, embedded below via YouTube: