Washington

Youngkin camp mocks McAuliffe’s ‘out of context’ campaign ad drop

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe was mocked by his Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin for claiming in a new campaign ad that Mr. Youngkin took his comment about schools and parents “out of context.” 

The McAuliffe camp dropped a new ad Monday attempting to clarify remarks made by the former Virginia governor during his second debate with Mr. Youngkin

“As parents, Dorothy and I have always been involved in our kids’ education. We know good schools depend on involved parents. That’s why I want you to hear this from me. Glenn Youngkin is taking my words out of context. I’ve always valued the concerns of parents,” McAuliffe says in the new ad.

“It’s why as governor we scaled back standardized testing, expanded pre-K, and invested a billion dollars in public schools,” he adds.

The Youngkin campaign responded to Mr. McAuliffe with its own ad late Monday night based on a portion of Monday’s McAuliffe campaign ad script.

In the opening sequence, Mr. McAuliffe is shown saying, “Glenn Youngkin is taking my words out of context.” A record scratch sound effect can be heard and the ad reads, “Seven times Terry McAuliffe said parents should have no say in their child’s education.”

From there, the ad goes into several instances where Mr. McAuliffe is asked whether parents should be involved in their children’s education. His responses range from, “First of all, I think parents should be telling schools their teachers should be vaccinated,” to “You don’t want parents coming into every single school jurisdiction.”

During the Sept. 28 debate about a local Virginia parent who called for the removal of sexually explicit materials in the public schools, Mr. McAuliffe made the most consequential comment of the campaign.

“I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision,” Mr. McAuliffe said. “… I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

Mr. McAuliffe, as governor, vetoed legislation in 2016 and 2017 which would have notified parents of sexually explicit content in school materials. The bills would have mandated that teachers offer alternative educational resources to students whose parents objected to the content.

Mr. McAuliffe, who is running for a second non-consecutive term, found himself in the middle of a media storm following his remarks that drew the criticism of parents facing off against school boards across the country.

Since he made the debate remark about how much parents should be involved in school curricula, the Youngkin campaign has hammered him over the airwaves through political attack ads and GOP allies in the media.  

Mr. McAuliffe and Mr. Youngkin are in a neck and neck race with two weeks until election day on Nov. 2. In-person early voting has been underway in Virginia since Sept. 17 and ends on Oct. 30.

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