McAuliffe hits Cuccinelli on “go to jail” contraception protest remarks
On Wednesday, presumptive Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli told a syndicated Iowa radio host that civil disobedience such as going to jail could be an effective way to protest a federal mandate that employers include contraception in the health insurance plans they offer to employees.
On Friday, Terry McAuliffe, Cuccinelli’s presumptive Democratic challenger for governor in 2013, characterized the Virginia attorney general’s remarks as “divisive,” and “far outside the mainstream.”
“…Our next Governor needs to focus on mainstream ideas for economic growth instead of spending their time on a divisive ideological agenda to restrict women’s health care,” McAuliffe said in a statement.
On the radio show, Cuccinelli, a Catholic, told conservative host Steve Deace that he had spoken with a local bishop who told a group that he was ready to go to jail to protest the requirement, part of the Affordable Care Act being challenged in court by Hobby Lobby stores.
Cuccinelli said he told the bishop, “Don’t take this personally — you need to go to jail.”
Under the ACA organizations that provide health insurance to employees, even religious organizations like the Catholic Church, are compelled to provide coverage for birth control. Cuccinelli was among the first attorneys general to challenge the federal health law in court.
He suggested that going to jail in protest would offer an example “of what tyranny means when it’s played to it’s logical conclusion.”
Cuccinelli’s camp did not respond to a request for comment on the McAuliffe remarks. But the statements by the attorney general would appear to play into a strategy Democrats have said they will embrace in the coming months of campaigning — to paint Cuccinelli as a right wing ideologue whose views do not reflect the views of most Virginians and run the risk of turning off corporate investment in the commonwealth.
By contrast, Cuccinelli’s camp has embraced conservative values while trying to paint McAuliffe as a liberal Beltway outsider who wants to bring Washington and big government overreach into the affairs of the commonwealth.