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May 29, 2009
McAuliffe tried to bribe Nader to stay off key ballots in 2004
Do you hear that? It's the sound of Terry McAuliffe's bid for the Virginia governorship going down the drain.
Ralph Nader has made the explosive allegation that McAuliffe offered his campaign money if he would stay off the ballot in key states. At the time, McAuliffe was head of the DNC and while not illegal - at least according to one Democrat on the FEC - offering party funds in this manner certainly wasn't very transparent and will probably be viewed by voters as sleazy politics - which it is.
Nevertheless, as this Washington Post story by Anita Kumar and Rosalind S. Helderman points out, McAuliffe believes it might actually help him with party loyalists:
The disclosure comes less than two weeks before voters go to the polls to determine which of three Democratic candidates will stand for governor in Virginia this year. In recent weeks, McAuliffe has been absorbing increasingly pointed criticism from his opponents, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds and former delegate Brian Moran.
A life on the center stage of national politics, much of it spent as a close adviser to Clinton, has produced plenty of fodder for the two opponents, even though McAuliffe has dismissed most of the attacks as tired smears long ago discredited. Political analysts said it is impossible to know whether any of it will sway voters.
"The risk is that he's painted as someone who doesn't operate purely transparently and ethically," said Quentin Kidd, a political science professor at Christopher Newport University. "That he engages in smoke-filled backroom deals, promises made, quid pro quos, you scratch my back, I scratch yours. Voters don't want that out of their elected officials."
In an interview, Nader said of McAuliffe, "Terry McAuliffe is slipperier than an eel in olive oil." Anyone who recalls McAuliffe's stint as a top advisor to Clinton knows that this kind of sleazy politics is par for the course.