Topic A

October 10, 2009

Republican Bob McDonnell's growing lead shows that, although Democrat Creigh Deeds beat better-funded, better-known primary opponents, he had no idea what to do in the general election. McDonnell did, focusing relentlessly on jobs, education and transportation.

The candidate who first makes abortion an issue generally loses. Deeds inexplicably raised the issue by attacking McDonnell as pro-life, then compounded his mistake by devoting months to other social issues, while McDonnell talked about jobs, education and transportation.

Deeds's assault on McDonnell's 20-year-old college thesis was ham-handed. Nothing falls flatter than an over-the-top attack. McDonnell's counter-punch was more powerful, erasing the gender gap in the latest Post poll.

Deeds distanced himself from President Obama and criticized what "was coming out of Washington, D.C." This hurt him with African Americans (never that excited about him) and Northern Virginians, who, well, spend lots of time coming in and out of Washington.

West Wing officials are trashing Deeds's hapless campaign, perhaps as an excuse for the president's not campaigning: They don't want Obama tied to a political loss or appearing too partisan now. And McDonnell? He continues to talk about jobs, education, and transportation. The GOP is moving toward an important victory in the commonwealth.


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