WARRENTON, Va. – All politics may be local, but in Virginia, at least for Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, his campaign for governor is all about sending a message to Washington, D.C., Democrats.
And nothing crystallizes the national stakes in this race more than the presence of one of the Republican Party’s brightest rising stars, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on the campaign trail today.
“This is the first election in America since the full impact of Obamacare has been felt,” Rubio told a crowd at a Warrenton rally today. “This is the first chance that people in this country have to speak clearly at the ballot box about the impact that this law is having on their lives and on our economy.
“And it’s not going well,” he added.
As the campaign heads into its final hours, the Affordable Care Act’s broken websites and a renewed focus in the media on insurance companies’ cancelling health care plans have been a boon to Cuccinelli’s stump speech and, he hopes, to his campaign.
And Rubio acknowledged today that a victory in Virginia Tuesday could tip the scales against the health care law in Washington.
Although polls show the Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe leading Cuccinelli (a new Quinnipiac University poll out today gave McAuliffe a 46-40 lead) the Republican hopes to ride a wave of disenchantment with Washington to victory Tuesday.
“Elections are about choices: on the other side is Terry McAuliffe, who didn’t think Obamacare went far enough,” Cuccinelli said. “He thought we should have the full-blown public option. Not only should they be running these websites, but they should be selling you government insurance.
“You know, because they’re doing such a good job on the website,” he added.
After the government shutdown in October hurt Republicans nationally, and some argue, hurt Cuccinelli’s campaign in the critical final weeks of the campaign, Republicans hope to extract every possible advantage from the health care law’s recent spate of bad press.
The law has been the butt of more than its fair share of jokes.
“The first day the website was open six people signed up for it,” Rubio said. “And that’s the good news. The bad news is, they had promised free steak knives to the seventh.
“That health care law will only get worse. The website is just the tip of the iceberg,” he added.
Rubio stumped for Cuccinelli at two events today, and former presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul will also campaign with him in Virginia tonight.
Cuccinelli, 45, said today that his campaign has focused on the health care law as the ultimate kitchen table issue for Virginians, one that speaks to how he will govern on everything else.
“This law is first and foremost … its greatest threat is not to health care, it’s to liberty. It’s to freedom,” Cuccinelli said.
“They tried not to talk about Obamacare, and that’s a problem for Terry because it’s what everyone is focusing on right now, and by everyone I mean Virginia voters,” Cuccinelli said to reporters after the rally.