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by Brandon Jarvis

After weeks of facing criticism from Republicans over comments during the last gubernatorial debate, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has a new ad set to air this week trying to place the blame on his opponent, Glenn Youngkin.

“As parents, Dorothy and I have always been involved in our kid’s education, we know good schools depend on involved parents,” McAuliffe says in the ad. “That’s why I want you to hear this from me — Glenn Youngkin is taking my words out of context.”

The moment that caused this controversy happened during the second gubernatorial debate at the of last month. “You believe school systems should tell children what to do. “I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education,” Youngkin said to McAuliffe during the debate. 

“I am not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision,“ McAuliffe responded. “So yeah I stopped the bill that I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” 

Republicans immediately try to mobilize parents and launched TV ads with footage of McAuliffe’s comments from the debate. Youngkin even launched a mobilization effort dubbed “parents matter” with events across Virginia.

“I have always valued the concerns of parents,” McAuliffe says in the new ad. 

Youngkin’s campaign responded in a statement late Monday night. “Two weeks before Election Day, Terry McAuliffe is struggling to save his campaign,” said Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter. “After 3 weeks of confirming more than half a dozen times that he meant exactly what he said in the debate, McAuliffe has been ordered by panicked DC Democrats to stop spouting anti-parent screeds. But it’s too late – Terry showed us his heart. This is what he believes. His attempt to fool Virginians is pathetic, and parents know the truth because the videos don’t lie. Terry will have to answer for that in two weeks on Election Day.”

Youngkin and McAuliffe have been tight in the polls with only two weeks left until election day. It is noteworthy, however, that there has not been any new polling since the Republican rally in Henrico County last week that consisted of a Donald Trump phone call and the pledge of allegiance to a flag present at the Capitol rally on Jan 6. 

Youngkin called it “weird and wrong” and was not involved in the Republican rally. That didn’t stop the Democrats from blasting the news and tying Youngkin to Trump over and over.

Both candidates have raised record-breaking numbers this cycle with Youngkin also loaning his campaign $16.5 million. In September only, McAuliffe raised $12.6 million compared to Youngkin’s $7 million. 

“In the closing weeks of this campaign, Glenn Youngkin has made it crystal clear he will prioritize Donald Trump’s agenda: from peddling Trumpian dog whistles to divide Virginians to using kids as political pawns to slashing funding for public schools,” said Renzo Olivari, a spokesperson for McAuliffe, in a statement Tuesday morning. “Glenn further confirmed his total devotion to Trump by refusing to denounce the rally where his supporters pledge allegiance to a flag from the deadly January 6th insurrection. Glenn Youngkin has disqualified himself and Virginians will make sure he gets nowhere near the Governor’s office.”

Election day is Nov. 2. 

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