Calling sequestration-related military cuts “thoughtless, butcher-kniving with a blindfold on,” Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said the defense of the nation must come first and it “makes no sense” to allow it to happen.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Cuccinelli, a GOP candidate in the 2013 race for governor, said the sequestration threat is the most dominant defense issue right now.
Watch the exclusive interview here.
“I’m a Republican who believes that everything needs to be on the table for cutting, including defense, but sequestration is thoughtless, butcher-kniving with a blindfold on to the military,” he said. “And the first responsibility of the federal government is the defense of our nation. That [sequestration] makes no sense. [Democratic U.S. Senate candidate]Tim Kaine continues to support it. [GOP U.S. Senate candidate] George Allen is legitimately beating him up over this because it’s a very bad position to take and to follow, and we’ve got to work our way out of it and that isn’t going to happen without leadership.“
He continued, “Paul Ryan brings that to the ticket and Mitt Romney proves that he’s going to engage in reality-based politics by picking Paul Ryan. So I expect we’ll see more details. I expect more articulation to the impact on Virginia and America of sequestration if it goes forward.”
The cuts under sequestration were included as part of an effort to encourage Republican and Democratic lawmakers to reach a budget deal to cut spending by more than $1 trillion. But they failed to achieve a compromise and now the cuts are due to go into force.
Turning to healthcare, Cuccinelli pointed out there is a better chance of repealing Obamacare now than in 2010.
He said, “Because of how the Chief Justice decided the case, by upholding Obamacare as a tax, we don’t need 60 senators to repeal it anymore. We need 50 and Paul Ryan. So 60 was never seriously within reach. Fifty is within reach. And in Virginia, we have George Allen running against Tim Kaine, the biggest cheerleader for Obamacare in the country. He was the DNC chair at the time. So we have a very stark contrast in our Senate election and, of course, it’s playing out in the presidential as well.”
“And, I would add,” he continued, “for those who aren’t from Virginia, three of the then-six Democrat congressmen were swept out in 2010 on this very wave. So this was a big deal in Virginia in 2010 and it’s still having an effect on the volunteers who show up. It’s changed the dynamic in George Allen’s race since June 28th to George’s favor and he continues to hold a small lead there. It’s going to have an effect all across the spectrum. You won’t see everything show up in polls because people’s first concern is the economy but they remember how the president dealt with this, and with debt being such a big concern for younger voters, healthcare is right up there because of its impact on it, this all carries into the broader conversation.”
Obamacare is not the only factor this time around, however, Cuccinelli said. The Environmental Protection Agency has ruffled some feathers in the state with “egregious overreaching.”
“In 2010 it [Obamacare] was decisive in two of the three congressional districts that we flipped but I don’t think it’s going to be decisive by itself in 2012,” he said. “What it is is a puzzle piece that paints a picture of failure and of the denial and squashing of liberty by this president. I mean, frankly, there’s so much they’ve done. We have two other lawsuits running against the EPA. You know both of those have Democrats participating, including the largest county in Virginia, Fairfax County, which is a Democrat governed board of supervisors? They joined us in that lawsuit against the EPA just last month because of the egregious overreaching of the federal government and the crushing economic impact it has.”
He went on to describe the state’s standoff with the EPA.
“Last month we filed against the EPA in the eastern district of Virginia,” he continued. “Fairfax joined us in that case because if we lose, it is worth over $200 million in remediation costs just to Fairfax County in one watershed. They have over 30 watersheds in Fairfax County. It will also cost our Department of Transportation another $70 million. These aren’t just numbers we throw out there-- $270 million difference in a county that’s already very aggressive in taking care of the environment. I mean Fairfax County is no slouch in this area, neither is Virginia and yet this unreasonable EPA is piling this on. So what it means to taxpayers in Fairfax, including businesses is $270 million more in taxes just to pay for these remediation costs. And one of the worst things about it is that even the EPA acknowledges all of the fixes they’ve demanded aren’t likely to fix the Accotink Creek, which is the watershed in question. It’s incredibly insane.”
Cuccinelli said he was hopeful Romney will win Virginia and Allen will pick up the Senate seat.
“Both George Allen and Mitt Romney have very small edges in Virginia right now and Romney will probably get a bump coming out of the convention,” he said. “I am hopeful that both of them will win but it’s going to take a lot of work for the next 69 days. I will say that Mitt Romney has weathered $100 million of just character assassination and it hasn’t done much damage. It’s driven up his negative some but it hasn’t changed the polls much. Virginia’s as close in the polling as we’ve ever seen it, including in this race.”
He concluded, “So the trend is in our direction which is what give me optimism as we go forward, and these last two months are going to be critical. And Romney and Ryan, and [President Barack] Obama and [Vice President Joe] Biden are going to be in Virginia every week. We’re going to be seeing them. Frankly, the more Joe Biden, the better. I mean he can have my mic. The more he talks, the better off we are. The gaffe that keeps on giving.”
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