POLITICS

Democrats: Ken Cuccinelli campaign book proves he's extreme

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Politics,Local,Virginia,Steve Contorno,Ken Cuccinelli

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's book hasn't hit shelves yet, but Democrats are already holding it up as proof that the conservative firebrand is too extreme to be governor of Virginia.

Cuccinelli's "The Last Line of Defense," advance copies of which started to leak to the media this week, makes clear that the Tea Party darling has no plans to move toward the political center in the race against his likely Democratic challenger, Terry McAuliffe.

The traditional campaign-style book, similar to those written by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, highlights Cuccinelli's crusades against President Obama's policies and blasts Washington politicians for creating and perpetuating expensive entitlement programs.

"One reason the American people got stuck with Obamacare was due to a devolution in American thinking over time that it was the government's job to provide health care for those who couldn't afford it on their own," Cuccinelli wrote. "But taking care of the poor is ideally the province first of families, churches and charities, not the government. In fact, public charity was never supposed to be a function of the federal government."

Democrats immediately pounced on the book, likening Cuccinelli's comments to Romney's now infamous, secretly taped speech in which he insisted 47 percent of Americans would support Obama over him because they are dependent on government.

"The agenda Cuccinelli sets forth in his book isn't a plan for the future," said Del. Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, chairwoman of the state Democratic Party. "It's a return to the same old radical ideas that Americans rejected in 2012."

McAuliffe swiftly used the book in an appeal to his own political contributors. In an email to supporters, McAuliffe campaign manager Robby Mook called the Republican attorney general's viewpoint "ideological extremism," then asked for a $5 contribution.

Meanwhile, McAuliffe was forced to answer questions Thursday about a Miami Herald report alleging that the former Democratic National Committee chairman was once close to Salomon Melgen, the Florida doctor at the center of a prostitution scandal involving Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.

The Herald quoted a former Melgen assistant saying that McAuliffe visited Melgen's home and the two golfed together "all the time."

McAuliffe's campaign confirmed that he met and played golf with Melgen. But McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin said, "Terry has no knowledge of any investigation into Salomon Melgen. If there was any wrongdoing, [Melgen] needs to be held fully accountable for his actions."

Schwerin would not comment on when McAuliffe and Melgen last spoke.

scontorno@washingtonexaminer.com

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