Huffpost Politics

Ken Cuccinelli: E.W. Jackson's Extreme Rhetoric 'Doesn't Change Our Message A Lick'

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Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, center, visits the Roanoke Regional Airport Monday, May 20, 2013 with fellow Republican candidates E. W. Jackson, right, who is running for lieutenant governor, and Mark Obenshain, left, the party's candidate for attorney general. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Kyle Green) LOCAL TV OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT; LOCAL PRINT OUT (SALEM TIMES REGISTER; FINCASTLE HERALD; CHRISTIANSBURG NEWS MESSENGER; RADFORD NEWS JOURNAL; ROANOKE STAR SENTINEL) | AP

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, said Thursday that his running mate's controversial comments about gays and Planned Parenthood do not affect the message of his campaign at all, The Washington Post reported.

Bishop E. W. Jackson, who became the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor earlier this month, has a long history of extreme comments on social issues that some believe could hurt Cuccinelli's chances. For instance, Jackson compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan last year and said that gays are “very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally.” He has refused to take back or apologize for his statements.

When reporters asked Cuccinelli whether he could explain Jackson's remarks, he said they don't affect his campaign at all.

“It doesn’t change our message a lick,” Cuccinelli said. “He’s got to defend all his own statements and he’s going to go about doing that, but we run our own race.”

Cuccinelli's refusal to denounce Jackson is not particularly surprising, considering that Cuccinelli himself has accused Planned Parenthood of targeting minorities. Politico reported that Cuccinelli made the comments during a 2011 speech to the Virginia Christian Alliance.

“I would encourage those of you who are particularly pastoring in black churches — look at the history of that movement,” he said. “Go read Margaret Sanger’s letters about the Harlem Project, and what she wanted to do.

"And I would also encourage you to pull out the map of Virginia," he continued. "Look at where the abortion clinics are. Go look at that. That doesn’t make you mad? Well you’re a lot calmer person than I am."

Anti-abortion advocates often claim that most abortion clinics are in black neighborhoods, but research contradicts the argument. About 63 percent of clinics are in predominantly white neighborhoods, and fewer than one in 10 clinics are located in predominantly black neighborhoods, according to the Guttmacher Institute's 2008 census of known abortion providers.

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