Sharp verbal attacks from Cuccinelli, McAuliffe at forum - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Sharp verbal attacks from Cuccinelli, McAuliffe at forum

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The Democrat accused the Republican of conducting a "witch hunt" and the Republican accused the Democrat of being an "unindicted co-conspirator." It was another rough day for the major party candidates in the race to be the next governor of Virginia.

Friday's candidate forum was organized by a coalition of business groups located in Loudoun County, Prince William County, Fredericksburg and Reston. Each of the major party candidates spent 45 minutes in front of an audience of several hundred.

At the very end of his time on stage, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe told the Virginia business executives his Republican opponent has a history of getting into office with mainstream messages, and then pushing a very conservative social agenda.

"Almost exactly four years ago," said Democrat McAuliffe, "when he was campaigning for attorney general, my opponent promised to focus on jobs. But, as you know, his record was very different. He spent his time launching a baseless witch hunt against a University of Virginia scientist. He spent his time trying to shut down our 20 women's health centers. And he sent a letter to the colleges all across Virginia to get rid of the non-discrimination policies on sexual orientation."

Republican Ken Cuccinelli opened his remarks with attacks on McAuliffe's integrity, especially when McAuliffe was chairman of the Democratic National Committee during Bill Clinton's presidency.

"He's the person who invented the scheme to rent out the Lincoln bedroom, and proudly bragged about selling seats on Air Force One (for political donations)," charged Cuccinelli. "He's an unindicted co-conspirator in a union election money laundering case."

In the past, McAuliffe has denied participating in a political donation swap with the Teamsters, and McAuliffe was never charged in the case.

Cuccinelli hammered away on other ethics issues: "His company, Greentech, is currently under investigation by the SEC (and another federal agency and Congress) for fraud and multiple investigations for a scheme to sell visas to wealthy Chinese investors.”

The debate over ethics continued after the forum, with Democrat McAuliffe reminding reporters that Attorney General Cuccinelli has taken $18,000 worth of gifts from Virginia businessman Jonnie Williams.

"If he wants to talk ethics, the first thing I would ask the Attorney General to do is return the gifts he got from Jonnie Williams,” said McAuliffe. “Do as Gov. McDonnell did and return the gifts."

Attorney General Cuccinelli has admitted taking the dinner, travel and vacation accommodations gifts, and Cuccinelli hinted he would write a check in repayment if he could afford it.

"If I could do that, I might just do that, but that's just not something I can do from my family's perspective," said Cuccinelli.

A statement issued later by the campaign pointed out that Cuccinelli and his wife have seven children.

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