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The Daily Rundown
updated 6/24/2013 2:19:03 PM ET 2013-06-24T18:19:03

“We had seven people running for lieutenant governor and I keep my votes to myself,” the GOP nominee for Virginia's high-profile race for governor said Monday of his controversial running mate.

In the top race of 2013, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says he’s focused on jobs and the economy instead of the controversy surrounding his running mate, E.W. Jackson.

The GOP candidate in the highest-profile race in the country joined The Daily Rundown Monday to discuss his tight battle with Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe, arguing he’s the best candidate to continue economic progress in the commonwealth.

Cuccinelli has been forced to answer questions after Jackson, a conservative minister who has come under scrutiny over his controversial comments on homosexuality and abortion, won the number two slot on the ticket at last month’s GOP convention.

“We had seven people running for lieutenant governor and I keep my votes to myself,” said Cuccinelli. “If I start diving into every other race, we’ll lose focus off job creation and on comparing my positive record and my ten years in state government with the lousy record of my opponent.”

Cuccinelli talked about his tax plan to close tax loopholes, promising to cut spending through a ranking system and getting the input of state senators and delegates.

“They’re all on the table except health care and education,” said Cuccinelli. “The way we’re going to pay for this tax cut after we have that ranking, which is going to be a team effort with the legislature, we’re going to start from the bottom and just zero them out.

Cuccinelli said “there will be a lot of continuity” between his policies and current Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell’s administration. McDonnell made jobs his top priority during his 2009 campaign.

“We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the whole country, and yet a big part of that is because we sit here on the other side of the Potomac, a lot of federal dollars that flow into Virginia and those are declining,” said Cuccinelli. “If you like Washington, you’ll like Terry McAuliffe, and if you don’t, you’ll like me.”

And though Cuccinelli differed from the governor, and McAuliffe, on one of McDonnell’s signature proposals—a bipartisan transportation bill that passed the state legislature earlier this year—he said he wouldn’t fight its implementation. The bill was designed to reduce gridlock in the traffic-clogged northern Virginia suburbs through infrastructure spending.

“I didn’t agree with the plan that went through this year,” said Cuccinelli. “However, it’s through, it’s done, that battle is over and now the real question is, do you want union-friendly Terry spending that money or frugal Ken spending that money?”

McAuliffe’s campaign has made Cuccinelli’s opposition to the transportation bill a key part of its attack against the attorney general and recently released a new ad.

A former DNC chairman and fundraiser with close ties to the Clintons, McAuliffe has faced scrutiny over his electric car company GreenTech, which built its facility in Mississippi instead of the Old Dominion, and how many jobs it has created so far.

Video: Republican gubernatorial candidate: I want to grow Virginia

  1. Closed captioning of: Republican gubernatorial candidate: I want to grow Virginia

    >>> today, my deep dive into the one race that everybody's going to be watching this fall. not only is it a proxy gamble but it's basically the only competitive contest. gubernatorial candidates mcauliffe and cuccinelli are in a tight race. starting with what both claim is their top priority, the economy and jobs. cuccinelli is a plan to cut tax rates for individual income and businesses.

    >> my plan includes a simpler and fairer tax code that will increase our competitiveness in the global economy while also leaving middle class families with a little more of their own hard-earned money.

    >> to pay for it, kucuccinelli wants to close loopholes. "the new york times" editorial page questioned that. writing, if you're thinking, haven't i heard this somewhere before? yes, you have. the whole "close loopholes to cut taxes" thing was a mainstay of the romney campaign. as a former chairman terry mccullough has tapped into his clinton ties for support. the former president headlined a fund-raiser in support. the clintons have skin in the games. his performance in the fall is seen as something as a gauge for a potential hillary clinton run in 2016 to see how engaged her donors and supporters are. as for cuccinelli he's trying to separate himself from ew jackson, described homosexuals as, quote, sick people has become an unwelcome topic for him who says he wants to be judged independently. mccullough has made it clear he has no intentions of trying to grant his opponent's wishes on that front.

    >> the tea party ticket focuses on issues that develop virginians . a attacking planned parenthood , attacking and demonizing gay virginians and promoting disproven fringe claims about president obama 's place of birth.

    >> joining me now, virginia attorney general and republican gubernatorial nomly ken cuccinelli . welcome.

    >> good morning. why do you want to be governor?

    >> i want to be governor because i see the opportunity to grow job creation in virginia . we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the whole country and yet a big part of that is because we sit here on the other side of the potomac, a lot of federal dollars that flow into virginia and those are declining. the defense side is drawing down and we need a governor who's going to focus on job creation and has a plan to do it in t the private sector. that's a focus that matches my attorney general record and matches my record in the state senate .

    >> as somebody watching this race, are you running to -- you'll see continuity in the number one issue with as i did i for attorney general, and that is for listeners small businesses and pay their taxes on their personal income tax return. so if you want to include small businesses in with your business tax cuts to grow job creation , you've got to include the personal side. this is a direct contrast to my opponent who says the word job but last week what he calls successes are the two companies he started franklin pelts and green tech which haven't performed at all and yet he called them successes in the louden times last week.

    >> i want to go back to your tax plan.

    >> sure.

    >> you say this is necessary. virginia is one of the lowest taxed states in the country. it's been ranked number one for business. multiple times over the last ten years. is creating a $1.5 trillion -- $1.5 billion gap. i get my billions and trillions confused sometimes.

    >> d.c. will do that.

    >> it does.

    >> why create that hole? why dig that hole when the tax burden isn't a problem here?

    >> this isn't the frederal government. if you like washington you'll like terry mccullough and if you don't you'll like me.

    >> there's two ways to do it. one we're going to lower the growth rate in our general fund down to about population plus inflation. last year that was worth over $500 million of tax relief.

    >> that's a third to pay for this.

    >> a little over a third. little over a third. and the rest of it, we have billions of dollars of tax exemptions and loopholes that have been carved out over the years in our tax code that that's a bipartisan discovery.

    >> give me an example. everybody has been asking you for an example.

    >> what they ask me for is tell me what the ones you're going to cut. we're going to bring republicans and democrats to list all of them and rank them all. if you're a delegate or senator won't participate we're going to know it.

    >> you're not going to tell us what this is before the election?

    >> they're all on the table except health care and education. the way we're going to pay for this tax cut after we have that ranking which is going to be a team effort with the legislature we're going to start from the bottom and just zero them out, cut them all the way up until we've got about a billion dollars worth of cuts that can cover job creating tax increases. we have several years to do this but we're going to start from day one.

    >> on transportation you have said while you opposed governor mcdonald's plan you're going to let it stay.

    >> that's right. we're going to implement it. i voted for a compromise in '07 in the senate, worked on this issue for a long, long time. i didn't agree with the plan that went through this year. however, it's through, it's done, that battle is over and now the real question is, do you want unifriendly terry spending -- union friendly terry or ken spending that money?

    >> ej jackson --

    >> we had seven people running for lieutenant governor and i keep my votes to myself.

    >> fair to say he was not your choice?

    >> i keep my votes to myself.

    >> you said you want to be judged independently.

    >> virginians always do that.

    >> why haven't you denounced some of the things he said?

    >> if i start getting into what any running mate -- i have 100 house of delegate seats at the same time too. if i start diving into every other race we'll lose focus off job creation and on comparing my positive record and my ten years in state government with my lousy record of my opponent.

    >> are you concerned he's going to hurt you?

    >> i'm more concerned with getting an edge on terry mccullough by communicating a job creating message to virginians . that's my focus. i can't worry about the other stuff going on around the table.

    >> you're not concerned he will -- if you lose this race, will you believe it's his fault?

    >> when i'm as focused as i am and comparing myself to the failures my opponent calls successes green tech and franklin pellets that's where this race is going to be decided because that's what voters care about.

    >> i had more i wanted to ask you, but i get an opportunity to moderate a debate, so i will do that and we've invited mr. mccullough shows you.

    >> he's up agreed to one debate.

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