Nov. 05--In a finale to his struggling campaign, Republican Ken Cuccinelli was embraced at a Richmond rally Monday night by tea party favorite Ron Paul and declared the Virginia governor's race a prelude to a statehouse fight over implementing President Barack Obama's troubled health care reform.
"Virginia is the next battleground for Obamacare," said Cuccinelli, alluding to a possible expansion of Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul. "I have an opponent who says Obamacare doesn't go far enough.... Why would we expand a proven failure?"
In 2010, Cuccinelli was the first state attorney general to challenge the Affordable Care Act in federal court.
Paul, a former Texas congressman who has run for president as a Libertarian and as a Republican, told about 400 Cuccinelli supporters at the Greater Richmond Convention Center that Cuccinelli is a fighter whom Democrats "want to humiliate (because they) stand up to the federal government."
Urging Cuccinelli's election, Paul said -- without mentioning Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe by name -- "that other guy (will) be nothing more than a buddy of Obama and (New York City Mayor Michael) Bloomberg."
Earlier Monday, in Culpeper, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., lent his conservative star power to help get out the vote for Virginia's Republican ticket, braving chilly temperatures and political headwinds in the D.C. ex- urb.
Rubio and Cuccinelli focused on what has become the key opponent in the race -- not McAuliffe, but the Affordable Care Act.
"Only six people signed up for it on the first day, and the problem with that is they had promised free steak knives to the seventh," Rubio quipped to the bundled-up audience of around 200 supporters.
They gathered in Yowell Meadow Park to see Cuccinelli, lieutenant governor hopeful E.W. Jackson and state Sen. Mark Obenshain, who is running for attorney general.
"I think clearly this is one of the first opportunities that Americans have had to speak out on the role of federal government in the aftermath of the implementation of Obamacare, which is hurting real people," Rubio told reporters.
Cuccinelli is banking on what he believes is widespread dissatisfaction with the health law to carry him to victory in Virginia, where most recent polls have him trailing McAuliffe by 4 to 12 points.
Athena Timberlake was on board with Cuccinelli. "He's against big government. People really need to start being responsible for themselves," said the Rixeyville resident.
(c)2013 the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.)
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Distributed by MCT Information Services
Original headline: Ron Paul, Rubio praise Cuccinelli
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