Terry McAuliffe, the presumptive Democratic nominee for Governor of Virginia spent this weekend speaking to a gathering of Credit Union officials at their national conference. McAuliffe took part in a point- counter point discussion on national politics with former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (R), who like McAuliffe once served as his party's National Chairman.
McAuliffe and Barbour were both paid to participate in the event hosted by the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference.
(Photo via @pr_gfcu twitter feed)
The two are friends and McAuliffe has in the past hailed Barbour's bi-partisan cooperation as part of what led him to place his company Green Tech Automotive in Mississippi. At the time of his company's decision to open a U.S. manufacturing plant, Barbour was still Governor.
The event in Washington, D.C. also hosted major political speakers like House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Henrico).
The McAuliffe- Barbour event was closed to the press, but they spoke to a crowd of about 4 thousand and some of what was said is starting to leak out. Credit Union Magazine reported that Barbour and McAuliffe "embody the political divide" and that McAuliffe went to great lengths to defend President Barack Obama's win in the 2012 election as a mandate.
NBC12 has obtained audio of one particular aspect of the event, where McAuliffe, who is selling himself as a business friendly candidate, was challenged by one of the guests at the conference. The unidentified questioner applauded McAuliffe's support of Credit Unions, but then rapped the candidate's stance on social programs.
Here is the transcript of the exchange:
“I’m delighted that you support credit unions and even more delighted that you support big business lending. But I’ve listened to some of your rhetoric as it relates to the progressiveness of the Democrat Party and victories in a number of urban states and it reminds me on some level of a cocaine dealer, it continues to give people additional handouts.”
The question brought cheers from the credit union crowd. In the little bit of audio we were given, it appears that McAuliffe attempts to move on to a different discussion topic.
McAuliffe's campaign did not have a specific comment on the event itself, but said that the candidate is focused on spending as much time in Virginia talking to voters as possible.
"Terry McAuliffe has spent the last two months traveling around listening to Virginians listening about how to make the Commonwealth the best for business," said spokesman Josh Schwerin.
McAuliffe has indeed traveled extensively across the state, holding events in many different regions. His campaign was quick to point out that their opponent Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the presumptive GOP nominee has spent his share of time off the campaign trail and, for that matter, out of the AG's office.
"Ken Cuccinelli has been busy promoting his extreme book and national agenda in Iowa and New Hampshire," Scherwin said.
In fact next week, Cuccinelli is scheduled to speak at CPAC, the annual gathering of conservative thinkers. Cuccinelli is the first major speaker. He is on the program for Thursday morning at 9am.