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Cuccinelli camp disavows Jewish joke at rally

The campaign of Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II distanced itself from an anti-Semitic joke made Tuesday at a rally featuring the Republican gubernatorial candidate and conservative radio host Mark Levin.

John Whitbeck, the chairman of Virginia's 10th Congressional District GOP committee, said that when a new pope is elected, "the head of the Jewish faith" brings a ceremonial piece of paper to the Vatican.

"He comes into the pope's office and he ceremonially hands the piece of paper to the pope, and then the new pope ceremonially rejects it, and the head of the Jewish faith leaves," he said. "Well, this time around the pope said, 'I gotta find out what's on this piece of paper.' So he actually takes it from the head of the Jewish faith, he opens it, he looks at it, he closes it, and his … counterpart says, 'What was it?' and he says, 'Well, it was the bill for the Last Supper.'"

Virginia state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Alexandria Democrat, called it "a mean-spirited joke using the lowest stereotypes of Jewish people."

"Statements like these are divisive, offensive and below the standard we set for our political discourse," he said.

Cuccinelli strategist Chris LaCivita told The Washington Post he didn't even know who Mr. Whitbeck was.

"It's wholly inappropriate and not connected to the campaign," he said. "And it's not reflective of Ken Cuccinelli."

Mr. Cuccinelli is running for governor against Democratic businessman Terry McAuliffe.

Mr. LaCivita also pointed to comments Mr. McAuliffe reportedly made in an interview with a Northern Virginia technology group, saying that as an Irish Catholic, he'd be good at taking people out for drinks and getting things done.

"Terry McAuliffe insults Irish Americans, while his campaign co-chairman makes a highly offensive comparison. Where's the outrage?" Mr. LaCivita tweeted Tuesday evening.

The comparison is an apparent reference to state Senate Democratic Leader Richard Saslaw, Fairfax Democrat, telling The Post that the political arm of the Northern Virginia Technology Council endorsing Mr. Cuccinelli would be like the NAACP endorsing George Wallace.

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