It should be a cardinal rule of working the campaign trail: don't let your warm-up act tell anti-Semitic jokes. And yet, that's exactly what happened to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, running for Virginia Governor, on Tuesday during a rally for Tea Party members who really didn't seem to mind that much, judging by their laughter and applause at the punch line. Cuccinelli has spent considerable time campaigning on an anti-homosexuality platform, and is hoping to win the election on his conservative cred. That's evident from his actual speech on Tuesday, which focused on the anti-Obamacare, anti-EPA message that does well among Tea Party crowds. But his speech isn't what will stick with the campaign from today's event.
The joke, from John Whitbeck, 10th Congressional District Republican Committee chairman, was caught on tape. Here it is:
In case you decided to skip the video, the punchline involves a Jewish leader handing the Pope a bill for the last supper. According to the Washington Post, Cuccinelli quickly distanced himself from the bit:
Cuccinelli had not arrived at the time the joke was told, and his campaign later distanced him from the remarks.
“I don’t even know who the guy is,” Cuccinelli campaign strategist Chris La Civita said, referring to Whitbeck. “It’s wholly inappropriate and not connected to the campaign. And it’s not reflective of Ken Cuccinelli.”
The race to become the next Virginia Governor has not, to say the least, been scandal free: Republican candidate and current state Cuccinelli, for instance, got some bad press after word got out that he received gifts from the same big donor favored by the current governor Bob McDonnell. Meanwhile, the Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe had some scandal press of his own connected to an investigation into his former electric-car company. And yet, despite the scandalpalooza, it looks like there is, in fact, a favored candidate in the race for the governor's seat: Terry McAuliffe is currently in the lead.