Recap of the First AG Debate
December 8, 2008
In a packed audience, the first Attorney General debate began with great fanfare. John Brownlee, Ken Cuccinelli, and Dave Foster are there to state the reasons why Republicans should be supporting them during the convention in May. The debate began with opening remarks from former Governor Jim Gilmore. Gilmore gave a brief synopsis of why he believed the party failed to elect Republicans last month. Former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore moderated the debate.
Opening remarks commenced with Brownlee, who mentioned that he will be the candidate in the form of Kilgore and Gilmore. Cuccinelli opened by touting his legislative record in the General Assembly as a State Senator. Foster talked about how he was the only Republican to have been elected in the “People’s Republic of Arlington.” Foster also talked about how education is close to his heart.
First question to the candidates: If your wife had a web page devoted to you, what would she say about you? What would be your strengths and weaknesses according to your spouse?
Brownlee: I hope she would say it was my dedication to public service. When we met in 1997, I had served in the Army. I wanted to give back. My parents worked hard to provide me with a strong education that included law school. Then, he served as a prosecutor in Washington, D.C., and George W. Bush awarded me with being the District Attorney for the western district of Virginia.
Brownlee did not answer what his weaknesses were, as the question was asked.
Cuccinelli: My wife would say I’m stubborn and that I like to argue a lot. I am blunt, what you see is what you get. I believe in running for office as the founding fathers would have intended. She sees this as both a strength and a weakness.
Foster: My wife would say that I have an obscure devotion as a family. I work as a partner in an international law firm, Fulbright and Dworski, as well as serving in the school board.
Second question to the candidates: What is the proper role for Attorney General?
Cuccinelli: There are an enormous number of companies coming from all states. We need to consult with other states’ attorney generals. The reasons to enter interstate dealings shouldn’t be for personal profit, but to obey the law.
Foster: The Attorney General’s office is the third largest law firm in the state, behind McGuire Woods and Hunt and Williams. He mentioned his experience with his law firm and said that he would have the experience to hire and fire.
Brownlee: The Attorney General’s office is to uphold the Virginia Constitution and to have prosecutorial powers. He mentioned Medicaid and how he prosecuted offenses to those who wrongly took money from seniors.
Third question: What would you have done about HB 3202? Would you have challenged this law?
Foster accused Tim Kaine of this travesty, and then he mentioned how he would have challenged this act.
Brownlee mentioned that he had some issues with HB 3202, but hopefully, he will trust
Cuccinelli said he thought HB 3202 was unconstitutional because of the regional tax authorities. “The Constitution comes first.” Cuccinelli said, “We need to move towards a free market approach [when it comes to a HOT lanes toll].
Next question: What role will death penalty play in your campaign? What will you do when it comes to your administration?
Brownlee said that the death penalty should be handled in a sober matter. Virginia will continue to have the death penalty that will be used in the most heinous and brutal crimes. He believes that the triggerman rule should be abolished.
Cuccinelli mentioned his experience serving on the Courts Committee in the State Senate and said that death penalty has been addressed regularly. He supports the death penalty and will back it as an Attorney General. It is the sensitive issue.
Foster mentioned how the triggerman rule does not make sense to him, but he would uphold the death penalty.
REAL ID position
Cuccinelli hit a home run with his answer. The upcoming session, Cuccinelli will be introducing a bill to get REAL ID requirements out of Virginia.
Foster skirted this question, and Brownlee did not fully answer the question.
Do you agree or disagree with the Republican Party position on illegal immigration?
Foster said that we need to be open to immigrants, but we should enforce the laws.
Brownlee said we are a party that believes in the rule of law. Second, we are a compassionate party that fights to keep families together. My campaign is uniquely qualified to handle this issue.
Cuccinelli said that we should be reaching out to immigrants. We should enforce the immigration laws and he has passed legislation to ban boarding houses, which is a huge problem in Northern Virginia. He has a track record of reaching out to the ethnic communities.
Recap of the Closing Statements
Brownlee mentioned his experience as a federal prosecutor will make him a great candidate for Attorney General.
Cuccinelli mentioned that he is the only candidate in the AG race who is 100% pro-life. He lives in Northern Virginia, and his commitment to the core principles. They are something to believe in and get behind. People have sacrificed so much for the core principles.
**Cross Posted at Crystal Clear Conservative