“The Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, whom President Biden stumped for over the summer now says, ‘The president is unpopular today, unfortunately, here in Virginia, so we have got to plow through.’ Why do you think the president is unpopular in Virginia?” Doocy asked.
“If you look at facts in the polling, President Biden is the most popular figure in Virginia of anyone currently running for President, or any former, recent president,” Psaki replied. It’s unclear what Psaki meant by that because there are currently no announced candidates for the 2024 presidential race.
Virginia voters will decide in less than a month whom they want to lead their state and it appears Mr. McAuliffe may have reason to worry. McAuliffe won the 2013 Governor’s race but the state forbids two consecutive terms in office. He is looking to return to his former office with a win in next month’s election but Republican Glen Youngkin stands between him and his former office.
A recent poll from Emerson College shows the Democrat candidate for governor clinging to a slim one-point lead over his Republican challenger. That’s down from the four-point lead McAuliffe enjoyed just last month.
Biden won the state of Virginia by 10 points in the last presidential race but his popularity has declined since then in the face of mandates for masks and vaccines, a shrinking economy, a lingering pandemic, border immigration issues and the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“But, I would say the president’s agenda is incredibly popular,” Psaki told Doocy at the White House.
“That’s probably why former governor McAuliffe is also running on that agenda. Whether it’s reducing costs for the American people, on child care, on elder care, making sure the tax system is more fair. Those are all components of the President’s agenda that he has huge agreement on with former governor McAuliffe.”
Doocy’s exchange with Psaki occurs at the 9:57 mark in a YouTube video of the press briefing.
McAuliffe can’t blame his shrinking lead completely on Biden because he has stumbled on the campaign trial. He was strongly criticized last week after saying during a debate, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” His remark was a response to Youngkin, who argues parents should be more involved in the decisions of local school districts.
Who controls local schools has taken center stage nationally after the Merrick Garland’s Justice Department announced Monday the FBI would be responding to an uptick in threats against public school administrators and staff in recent months. Critics say the move is meant to criminalize dissent by parents on issues such as mask mandates and critical race theory.
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