The eyes of the nation are on the 2005 Virginia gubernatorial race, said Mary Matalin, a political commentator and former advisor to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
“This race is and will be the most-watched race in the country,” Matalin told Republicans across the state gathered for a series of “Cookouts with Kilgore” events held Tuesday night.
Matalin said the Jerry Kilgore-Tim Kaine contest is being seen as “a sort of statement” on the success of the president’s second term.
“There’s this incredibly, remarkably, ridiculous storyline developing here that President Bush is in some sort of lame-duck status only months into his second term. Well, he doesn’t think that. He doesn’t act on that. It is silly, but it is something that can be instantly eradicated by Jerry’s victory,” Matalin said.
Matalin, a Republican strategist and former cohost of CNN’s “Crossfire,” lives in Virginia with her husband, Democratic strategist James Carville, and the couple’s two children. They moved to Virginia from Washington, D.C., for three reasons, Matalin said – “the personal safety and security of my family, for education and for taxes, and that is Jerry’s agenda, and he has not just a record of achievement, but he has a plan for the future on those issues that affect our everyday life.”
“We watch the national news and the Beltway pundits, who would not be wrong to think that there’s some disparate, desperate move away from what has happened at our kitchen tables. But that’s what Jerry has done, and that’s what Jerry is going to do in Virginia. He’s right on those issues that are right for Virginia and right for families,” Matalin said.
Matalin, who served on former president George H.W. Bush’s two presidential campaigns before joining the George W. Bush White House team, said Kilgore has the same personal and political style as the current president.
“He does remind me as I watch him campaigning across the state and talk to my friends at the White House and in the national party as being very much like President Bush. He says what he means and does what he says. This is what we need in politics,” Matalin said.
“We need consistency. We need trust. You can’t stand up for what you believe in if you don’t take a stand. And you can’t take one stand in one part of the state and remake yourself in another part of the state for another constituency and not remake yourself for your race,” Matalin said.
“Jerry is the right kind of person, not just right on the issues, but he’s the right kind of person, the right kind of character, with the right kind of values to serve in public service today,” Matalin said.
“Both his character and his governing philosophy, now, I don’t want to cast any aspersions here, but it does stand, we have to say, in stark contrast to his opponent,” Matalin said.