Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, defended his record on women's issues Friday, claiming he's "the only candidate" with a record of protecting women.
Cuccinelli, badly trailing Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the final days of the campaign -- particularly among women voters -- reached back to his college days for an example of his support for women during an interview on the Laura Ingraham radio talk show on Friday.
"I'm the only candidate in the race who's actually ever done anything to protect women," Cuccinelli said, citing his advocacy for sexual assault victims at the University of Virginia, and domestic violence programs in his Attorney General's office. He also said he spearheaded Virginia's efforts to fight human trafficking.
McAuliffe and groups that include Planned Parenthood have repeatedly slammed Cuccinelli's staunch opposition to abortion and his failure to back renewal of the federal Violence Against Women Act.
As a state senator before he was elected attorney general, Cuccinelli proposed a fetal personhood amendment that would have banned abortion and legally defined a fertilized egg as a person. As attorney general, Cuccinelli pressed the Virginia Board of Health to approve restrictions on abortion clinics that could force many to close.
Cuccinelli was one of three state attorneys general in the U.S. who did not join a bipartisan effort supporting reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
The Washington Post reports that those who worked with Cuccinelli on sexual assault issues in college question his viability as a candidate for governor.
Alexia Pittas, who fought sexual assault with Cuccinelli at the University of Virginia, told The Washington Post she thinks Cuccinelli is “a man of integrity," but would not vote for him.