Mitchell Fawns Over McAuliffe, Skips Scandals for Virginia Dems

During a softball interview with former Democratic Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell managed to avoid a single mention of the scandals plaguing top liberal politicians in the commonwealth. That despite the fact that McAuliffe touted his efforts to help Virginia Democrats win state legislative elections numerous times throughout the exchange.

Planning to focus on the presidential race and former Vice President Joe Biden set to launch his campaign on Thursday, Mitchell began by wondering why McAuliffe chose not to enter the 2020 contest: “Well, why didn’t you run?” He explained: “Well, I got close.... But then, we have a lot of issues in Virginia. You know, we have the House and Senate up.”

 

 

Mitchell never asked him to elaborate on what those “issues” were, namely that Democratic Governor Ralph Northam and state Attorney General Mark Herring have both been embroiled in racist blackface scandals, while Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax has been accused by two women of sexual assault. Normally a journalist would be interested in the entire political leadership of a state being in crisis, but not Mitchell.

McAuliffe continued:

But you gotta go where ultimately your heart is and you gotta go where you think you can make the biggest difference, and Virginia needed my help. I had the leadership of Virginia had reached out to me, “We need you, our House and Senate, we could win the House and Senate with the governorship for the first time in 26 years.” So I decided to go where I could make the big difference.

After Mitchell asked several questions about Biden’s chances in the Democratic primary, McAuliffe turned the conversation back to Virginia politics:

I want every Democratic candidate – listen to me closely – I want every single one of you to commit that you’re gonna come to Virginia this year. You’re gonna do a fundraiser with me, you’re gonna do a political event with me to win the House and Senate in Virginia for the first time in 26 years....I need these candidates help and I need it this year.

Instead of seizing the opportunity to talk about the scandals, Mitchell simply gushed over McAuliffe’s message discipline: “Terry, Terry, Terry....There is nobody better at staying on a message than Terry McAuliffe....State, local. It’s all about Virginia. Get them to commit to campaign with you.”

She laughed and added: “Oh, former Governor Terry McAuliffe, former Democratic Party chairman, there is no one else like you. Thank you so much for being with us. As always.”

Given how persistent McAuliffe was in promoting Virginia Democrats and talking about upcoming elections, Mitchell should have pressed him on the uphill battle his party is facing in the commonwealth. After all, it’s such a challenge that McAuliffe abandoned his presidential plans to campaign across the state while current Governor Northam has been sidelined by the ongoing controversy.  

Here are excerpts of the April 24 interview:

12:20 PM ET

(...)

ANDREA MITCHELL: Joining me is former Democratic Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who’s worked alongside Joe Biden for decades and himself considered running until just last week. Great to see you, Governor. Okay, why –

FMR. GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE [D-VA]: Andrea, great to be back with you.

MITCHELL: Well, why didn’t you run?

MCAULIFFE: Well, I got close. I would have thought a week ago I was definitely running. But then, we have a lot of issues in Virginia. You know, we have the House and Senate up. And listen, it would have been a tough pathway, I knew that, with 2021 [sic], but I had a lot of things I thought were important to say on the issues.

But you gotta go where ultimately your heart is and you gotta go where you think you can make the biggest difference, and Virginia needed my help. I had the leadership of Virginia had reached out to me, “We need you, our House and Senate, we could win the House and Senate with the governorship for the first time in 26 years.” So I decided to go where I could make the big difference.

As governor, I worked hard for four years, took the state to the next level. Took it to a level we hadn’t seen before nationally. Now we need to go globally. So I’m going to spend my efforts – yesterday I agreed to 41 events, that I gave the state party they can – I’ve agreed to go to. So listen, it’s an important election coming up in Virginia, I need to make a difference, that’s where I can make –

MITCHELL: But what about the national election? What about Donald Trump? Is Joe Biden the right answer? You know him better than anyone.

(...)

MCAULIFFE: I can tell you right now in Virginia, and these 40 plus events I’m doing, I’m going to be with local folks who want to talk about health care. Now people put these litmus tests and Medicare-for-all. We gotta focus on what matters to the voters at home.

(...)

MCAULIFFE: I want every Democratic candidate – listen to me closely – I want every single one of you to commit that you’re gonna come to Virginia this year. You’re gonna do a fundraiser with me, you’re gonna do a political event with me to win the House and Senate in Virginia for the first time in 26 years.

I fought hard to stop all of those issues that I had to deal with as governor. You know, shutting down our woman’s health clinics. I stopped all that. But there were bills I wanted on assault weapon ban, what I wanted on background checks and closing gun show loophole. They never saw the light of day in a Republican legislature.

With a Democratic legislature, we can make Virginia the beacon globally. But I need these candidates help and I need it this year. We’re six months away and presidential’s gonna come fast enough. But we as a party, Andrea, don’t spend enough time and effort on local – state and local.

And the other thing, redistricting is something I care dearly about and fought for it for years. These gerrymandered districts have destroyed democracy in our country. The folks elected this year will be in the chair in 2021. We need fair lines, competitive lines. I support non-partisan independent groups. We got to get the voters –

MITCHELL: Terry, Terry, Terry.

MCAULIFFE: You know what? Politicians pick their voters. Voters should pick their politicians.

MITCHELL: There is nobody better at staying on a message than Terry McAuliffe.

MCAULIFFE: Well, thank you, Andrea.

MITCHELL: State, local. It’s all about Virginia. Get them to commit to campaign with you.

MCAULIFFE: And Virginia’s for lovers. Virginia’s for lovers, let me just throw that in at the end. We’re the place to be. Don’t live anywhere else.

MITCHELL: Oh, former Governor Terry McAuliffe, former Democratic Party chairman, there is no one else like you. Thank you so much for being with us.

MCAULIFFE: Thank you.

MITCHELL: As always.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals Racism MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports Video Andrea Mitchell Terry McAuliffe

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