A top surrogate to Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell is shown in a new video clip making fun of Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds’ stutter.
In the video, Black Entertainment Television co-founder Sheila Johnson is seen addressing supporters at a McDonnell campaign event.
Johnson talked about the importance of communicating effectively, making the case that McDonnell is capable of doing so.
She referred to Deeds calling him McDonnell’s “op-op-op-op-opponent” and said the rural Democrat stuttered throughout his conversations with Johnson.
Democratic blog NotLarrySabato posted the video Monday, calling the incident “pathetic.” A Deeds advisor said a staffer recorded Johnson’s remarks and the campaign provided the video to bloggers.
Johnson is one of McDonnell’s biggest backers. She previously supported Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine, but switched allegiances this year to stand behind McDonnell.
The GOP nominee frequently highlights Johnson’s endorsement during campaign stops.
Deeds’ campaign is calling foul.
“This is a cheap shot and a new low for this race,” said spokesman Jared Leopold. “Creigh Deeds isn’t the smoothest speaker in the race, but when he speaks he is authentic and means what he says.”
“That’s what people will respond to, not divisive personal attacks.”
McDonnell’s campaign has responded to the uproar over Johnson’s comments with the following statement from spokeswoman Crystal Cameron:
“Creigh Deeds has been unable to express any vision for Virginia’s future, and he regularly takes two positions on important issues. Democratic businesswoman Sheila Johnson was noting that fact. Why the Deeds campaign wants to attack a prominent supporter of both Governor Tim Kaine and President Barack Obama, while reminding voters that she strongly supports Bob McDonnell for governor, is beyond us.”