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Deeds attacks McDonnell on abortion issues

ANNANDALE, Va. (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds launched a sharp attack Monday against his Republican opponent’s Bob McDonnell’s anti-abortion record, accusing him of "trying to chip away at a woman’s right to choose" in his time as a state legislator.
In a speech to nearly 100 women Monday at Northern Virginia Community College, Deeds said McDonnell is trying to obscure his record as a social conservative, especially on abortion, by highlighting economic issues in his statewide campaign.
"My opponent is trying to undergo a complete makeover," Deeds said. "I don’t have to undergo a makeover."
McDonnell, who spent Monday in Martinsville and Danville touting his economic development plan for rural Virginia, said through a spokesman that Deeds’ priorities are misplaced if he thinks abortion is a critical issue in this campaign.
"Bob McDonnell understands that with the Commonwealth’s unemployment rate at a 25-year high, Virginians are rightly focused on the policies we need to create jobs and opportunities, spokesman Tucker Martin said in a statement. "While Creigh holds rallies on abortion, Bob is in Martinsville and Southside visiting with workers and small business owners."
Deeds said that he, too, is primarily focused on economic issues. But he said Virginia voters need to know the differences between the candidates on abortion.
Deeds opposed legislation supported by McDonnell that imposed a 24-hour waiting period and banned certain late-term abortion procedures. Deeds also cited remarks by McDonnell that he does not support the right to an abortion even in cases of rape and incest.
Martin, in his statement, said that "Bob McDonnell is pro-life" and that "the differences between the two candidates on the issue of abortion are well known."
Deeds’ attack represents a strategic shift from past elections. In 2001 and 2005, Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine waged successful campaigns in which they largely sought to avoid topics like abortion.
Tarina Keene, director of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League’s Pro-Choice Virginia, said Deeds’ willingness to address the abortion issue head on is a welcome change from the past. In 2001, Warner ran on his reputation as a businessman and steered clear of social issues. Kaine often talked about values in his campaign, including his days as a Catholic missionary. But abortion was a tricky issue for Kaine, who personally opposed abortion but promised to uphold laws protecting abortion rights.
Keene said a pro-choice candidate can do well politically in Virginia, citing polling data that 60 percent of Virginians support some form of abortion rights.
George Mason University political science professor Mark Rozell said Deeds must walk a fine line in raising the abortion issue. He said it can be a positive because the Virginia electorate is generally pro-choice, but voters will be turned off if Deeds hammers the point at the expense of other issues.
"It’s a good issue for Democrats if they don’t overplay it," Rozell said.
Deeds’ campaign spokesman, Jared Leopold, said it’s not unusual for Democrats to campaign in Virginia on a pro-choice agenda. Kaine ran an ad in 2005, for instance, attacking opponent Jerry Kilgore’s stands on the issue.
And Deeds emphasized Monday he still considers the economy, education and transportation to be the key issues. Asked if he would sponsor legislation to repeal Virginia’s 24-hour waiting period and its ban on certain late-term abortions, Deeds made it clear other priorities come first.
"I don’t anticipate that abortion will be on my agenda one way or the other," he said.

Deeds and McDonnell ran against each other in 2005 for attorney general, with McDonnell winning by 360 votes out of more than 2 million cast. In that campaign, Deeds also ran a television ad attacking McDonnell’s abortion record and highlighting McDonnell’s ties to Pat Robertson’s Regent University, where McDonnell graduated from law school. McDonnell said the ad fostered religious intolerance.

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Deeds attacks McDonnell on abortion issues

ANNANDALE, Va. (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds launched a sharp attack Monday against his Republican opponent’s Bob McDonnell’s anti-abortion record, accusing him of "trying to chip away at a woman’s right to choose" in his time as a state legislator.
In a speech to nearly 100 women Monday at Northern Virginia Community College, Deeds said McDonnell is trying to obscure his record as a social conservative, especially on abortion, by highlighting economic issues in his statewide campaign.
"My opponent is trying to undergo a complete makeover," Deeds said. "I don’t have to undergo a makeover."
McDonnell, who spent Monday in Martinsville and Danville touting his economic development plan for rural Virginia, said through a spokesman that Deeds’ priorities are misplaced if he thinks abortion is a critical issue in this campaign.
"Bob McDonnell understands that with the Commonwealth’s unemployment rate at a 25-year high, Virginians are rightly focused on the policies we need to create jobs and opportunities, spokesman Tucker Martin said in a statement. "While Creigh holds rallies on abortion, Bob is in Martinsville and Southside visiting with workers and small business owners."
Deeds said that he, too, is primarily focused on economic issues. But he said Virginia voters need to know the differences between the candidates on abortion.
Deeds opposed legislation supported by McDonnell that imposed a 24-hour waiting period and banned certain late-term abortion procedures. Deeds also cited remarks by McDonnell that he does not support the right to an abortion even in cases of rape and incest.
Martin, in his statement, said that "Bob McDonnell is pro-life" and that "the differences between the two candidates on the issue of abortion are well known."
Deeds’ attack represents a strategic shift from past elections. In 2001 and 2005, Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine waged successful campaigns in which they largely sought to avoid topics like abortion.
Tarina Keene, director of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League’s Pro-Choice Virginia, said Deeds’ willingness to address the abortion issue head on is a welcome change from the past. In 2001, Warner ran on his reputation as a businessman and steered clear of social issues. Kaine often talked about values in his campaign, including his days as a Catholic missionary. But abortion was a tricky issue for Kaine, who personally opposed abortion but promised to uphold laws protecting abortion rights.
Keene said a pro-choice candidate can do well politically in Virginia, citing polling data that 60 percent of Virginians support some form of abortion rights.
George Mason University political science professor Mark Rozell said Deeds must walk a fine line in raising the abortion issue. He said it can be a positive because the Virginia electorate is generally pro-choice, but voters will be turned off if Deeds hammers the point at the expense of other issues.
"It’s a good issue for Democrats if they don’t overplay it," Rozell said.
Deeds’ campaign spokesman, Jared Leopold, said it’s not unusual for Democrats to campaign in Virginia on a pro-choice agenda. Kaine ran an ad in 2005, for instance, attacking opponent Jerry Kilgore’s stands on the issue.
And Deeds emphasized Monday he still considers the economy, education and transportation to be the key issues. Asked if he would sponsor legislation to repeal Virginia’s 24-hour waiting period and its ban on certain late-term abortions, Deeds made it clear other priorities come first.
"I don’t anticipate that abortion will be on my agenda one way or the other," he said.

Deeds and McDonnell ran against each other in 2005 for attorney general, with McDonnell winning by 360 votes out of more than 2 million cast. In that campaign, Deeds also ran a television ad attacking McDonnell’s abortion record and highlighting McDonnell’s ties to Pat Robertson’s Regent University, where McDonnell graduated from law school. McDonnell said the ad fostered religious intolerance.

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