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EDITORIAL: Dirty Deeds

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It is a rare politician who unites newspaper editorial boards across the political spectrum and across the state of Virginia. Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds has done just that: Throughout the state, observers agree that he is running a flatly dishonest advertising campaign that discredits his own claim to be worthy of the office.

In return, the campaign of Republican Robert F. McDonnell trumpets the editorial rebukes, but the words of Virginia editorial writers speak for themselves.

Consider, for instance, a Deeds ad that directly blames Mr. McDonnell for a series of rate increases by the Appalachian Power Co. The Lynchburg News and Advance calls the ad "an outright lie, and the good senator and his campaign operatives know it." The Roanoke Times chimed in that "Deeds' ad is not honest." And: "The ironic thing is that Sen. Deeds voted for that bill ... that entitled Appalachian to its increase and now criticizes his opponent for enforcing that law. ... Deeds should be ashamed."

Then there were several Deeds ads falsely accusing Mr. McDonnell of repeatedly supporting tax increases. The Virginian-Pilot in Hampton Roads analyzed the ads and called them "ludicrous." And it suggested, "Deeds has deliberately concocted disingenuous and deceitful ads because he thinks voters are too stupid to know better."

Most ubiquitous here in Northern Virginia have been a series of Deeds ads painting Mr. McDonnell as having a Stone Age approach to social issues. Even The Washington Post, which wasted an almost unimaginable amount of ink on Mr. McDonnell's 20-year-old graduate thesis, found Mr. Deeds' ads to be false. The ads say Mr. McDonnell "opposed birth control for married adults." The Post's fact checkers wrote: "As a state lawmaker from Virginia Beach from 1992 to 2006, McDonnell voted for a bill to give pharmacists a 'conscience clause' allowing them to not fill prescriptions. He also voted for a bill barring the morning-after pill. ... We're not aware of any legislation to keep contraception away from married couples." The Lynchburg paper also chimed in, calling the ads "a load of bunk."

Those are harsh words, but Mr. Deeds deserves every one.