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Ralph Northam: Man Of Mystery

- October 19, 2017

Today, President Barack Obama Will Campaign With Flip-Flopper, Ralph Northam


TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • Today, President Barack Obama will attend a campaign event with Virginia gubernatorial candidate Lt. Governor Ralph Northam-a man whose principles and positions are either constantly changing or non-existent.
  • During the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Northam attempted to prevent President Obama from endorsing his primary opponent Tom Perriello.
  • But now, Northam conveniently welcomes the support of President Obama-an ironic twist of fate given his chameleonic-like political positions on issues such as health care have not always been aligned with those of President Obama.
  • Northam currently supports health care as a "right for every American," a complete flip-flop from his views in 2011, when he called health care a "privilege" that people "need to work for."
  • Northam still refuses to state his exact position on Dominion's pipeline projects in Virginia-an issue that has put him in a tight spot between liberal Democrats and a prominent campaign donor.
  • Northam also touts his tax reform plan-which he promised to put on his website but has yet to do-a phantom proposal which continues to remain undefined and unavailable to Virginians.

TODAY, PRESIDENT OBAMA WILL APPEAR AT A RALLY TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR RALPH NORTHAM

President Obama Will Attend An Event In Virginia With Gubernatorial Candidate Ralph Northam

Earlier This Month, It Was Announced That President Obama Will Appear At A Rally With Democratic Lt. Governor And Gubernatorial Candidate Ralph Northam. "Former president Barack Obama is returning to the campaign trail for the first time since he left the White House, planning to appear at a rally with Ralph Northam, Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial candidate, on Oct. 19 in Richmond." (Fenit Nirappil, "Obama Returns To Campaign Trail With Richmond Rally For Ralph Northam," The Washington Post , 10/11/17)

  • This Will Be President Obama's First Campaign Event Since Leaving The White House. "Former president Barack Obama is set to return to the campaign trail next week for the first time since leaving the White House." (Ryan W. Miller, "Obama To Hit Campaign Trail For First Time Since Leaving Office," USA Today , 10/11/17)

The Endorsement Of President Obama Comes After Former Obama Administration Staffers Announced Their Support For Northam's Primary Opponent, Tom Perriello, During The Primary

During The Democratic Gubernatorial Primary, Twenty-Nine High-Level Former Obama Staffers Endorsed Tom Perriello Over Northam. "Seeking to drape himself in the mantle of Barack Obama in his Virginia gubernatorial race, former Rep. Tom Perriello on Wednesday began circulating a letter showing support from more than two dozen members of the former president's staff, according to a copy obtained by POLITICO. Among the 29 signers: Obama's 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe; former White House deputy chief of staff Nancy-Ann DeParle; former White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer; former White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri; former White House deputy senior adviser, Stephanie Cutter; former White House social secretary Julianna Smoot; former White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz; and former White House director of political affairs, Patrick Gaspard, fresh off a stint as the U.S. ambassador to South Africa." (Gabriel Denbenedetti and Kevin Robillard, "Obama Team Lines Up Behind Perriello," Politico , 3/22/17)

  • In A Letter Announcing Their Decision, They Stated "Tom Embodies The Pragmatic Progressive Values That President Obama Fought So Hard Over The Past Eight Years" And Lauded Perriello For His Support Of Obamacare And Climate Change Legislation. "'Tom embodies the pragmatic progressive values that President Obama fought so hard for over the past eight years. In Congress, Tom stood with President Obama - even though he represented a red district - to pass the Affordable Care Act, to support climate change legislation to protect our planet, and to prevent a depression through the Recovery Act,' reads the roughly 450-word letter. 'Tom didn't just take these votes; he defended them and ran on them despite the tea party wave that scared others into political expediency. While many Democrats ran away from the president in 2010, Tom didn't.'" (Gabriel Denbenedetti and Kevin Robillard, "Obama Team Lines Up Behind Perriello," Politico , 3/22/17)

Former Obama And Clinton Aide John Podesta Called Perriello "A Blueprint" To "Resist" The Trump Administration . "The future of the Democratic Party will be defined by who can tap the anxieties, frustrations and energy of millions of Americans rising up to resist the Trump administration and forge a different path forward. Tom Perriello is offering a blueprint. Democrats should pay attention." (John Podesta, Op-Ed, "The Governor's Race That Could Define The Democratic Party's Future," The Washington Post, 3/17/17)

During The Primary, Northam Actively Sought To Ensure That President Obama Would Not Endorse His Primary Opponent

During The Primary, Northam Called Former Attorney General Eric Holder And Appealed To Him To "Prevent Obama From Endorsing In The [Virginia Democratic] Primary." "So much so that Northam called former U.S. attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and appealed to him to prevent Obama from endorsing in the primary, according to a Democrat with knowledge of the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it." (Fenit Nirappil and Gregory S. Schneider, "As Virginia's Primary Draws Closer, Democratic Nomination For Governor Could Depend On Black Voters," The Washington Post , 6/8/17)

Northam's Campaign Confirmed That He Had Spoken To Holder "About The Campaign And His Long-Standing Support For President Obama." "Northam's campaign acknowledged only that he spoke with Holder 'about the campaign and his long-standing support for President Obama.' Messages left for Holder were not returned. So far, the former president has stayed out of the race, although 30 officials from his administration and campaign are backing Perriello." (Fenit Nirappil and Gregory S. Schneider, "As Virginia's Primary Draws Closer, Democratic Nomination For Governor Could Depend On Black Voters," The Washington Post , 6/8/17)

President Obama Did Not Endorse A Candidate During The Democratic Primary For Governorship. "Obama did not endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary between the lieutenant governor and former congressman Tom Perriello, who served in the Obama administration." ("Obama To Return To Campaign Trail To Stump For Northam," The Associated Press , 6/23/17)

NORTHAM'S POLITICAL THEATRICS ARE EMBLEMATIC OF A LARGER PATTERN OF CONTRADICTIONS, FLIP-FLOPS, AND OBFUSCATION

Ralph Northam Has Flip-Flopped His Position On Health Care

In 2013, President Obama Claimed That "Health Care Is Not A Privilege For The Fortunate Few, It Is A Right." "'In the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one should go broke just because they get sick,' Obama told a friendly audience at the college in Largo. 'In the United States, health care is not a privilege for the fortunate few, it is a right.'" (Ovetta Wiggins and Scott Wilson, "Obama Defends Health-Care Law, Calling Health Insurance 'A Right,'" The Washington Post , 9/26/13)

In 2011, Then A State Senator, Ralph Northam Declared That He Believed That Health Care Was A "Privilege" Not A Right, And That People "Need To Work For Their Health Insurance." STATE SENATOR RALPH NORTHAM (D-VA): "I believe it's a privilege. And let me clarify that. If people can get up in the morning and go to work like I can, then it needs to be a privilege. They need to work for their health insurance, for their benefits." (State Senator Ralph Northam, Remarks At The 6th District State Forum Debate , Norfolk, VA, 10/26/11)

Click To Watch

In 2017, A Spokesperson For Northam's Campaign Stated Northam Believes "Every American And Virginian Has A Right To Affordable Health Care, And He Believes It Is The Responsibility Of Government To Make Sure They Do." "'Ralph Northam spent his life seeing patients as an Army doctor and a pediatrician, and he knows firsthand how important [it is] for people to be able to get the health care they need, when they need it,' said Northam spokesman David Turner. 'He firmly believes that every American and Virginian has a right to affordable health care, and he believes it is the responsibility of government to make sure they do.'" (Fenit Nirappil, "Obamacare Cost Him A Seat In Congress. Can it Make Him Governor Of Virginia?" The Washington Post , 5/8/17)

With Regard To Pipeline Construction, An Issue Of Economic And Political Importance To Virginians, Northam Has Shied Away From Taking A Stand

The Virginia Pipeline Consists Of Two Projects, One Project Is A Dominion Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline That Would Run 550 Miles From West Virginia Through Central And Southern Virginia And Into North Carolina. "The issue involves two projects inspired by the boom in fracked natural gas. The $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, proposed by Dominion Energy and several partners, would run some 550 miles from West Virginia through central and southern Virginia and into North Carolina, with a spur flung out to Hampton Roads." (Gregory S. Schneider, "'They Would Work Their Hearts Out For Him' If Only Northam Opposed Pipelines, Protesters Say," The Washington Post , 7/30/17)

The Second Project Would Be A 300 Mile Mountain Valley Pipeline That Would Be Built In A Partnership By EQT Midstream. "The 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline would also start in West Virginia, but would enter Virginia in the southwest - near Blacksburg - and connect with an existing pipeline in Pittsylvania County. It's being built by a partnership led by EQT Midstream." (Gregory S. Schneider, "'They Would Work Their Hearts Out For Him' If Only Northam Opposed Pipelines, Protesters Say," The Washington Post , 7/30/17)

The Sponsor Of One Of Those Major Pipeline Projects, Dominion Energy, Is A "Major Political Donor" Of Northam Who " Has Received Campaign Cash From Dominion And Owns Stock In The Company." "The sponsor of one pipeline, Dominion Energy, is a major political donor whose largesse has come under fire this election season. Northam, who has received campaign cash from Dominion and owns stock in the company." (Gregory S. Schneider, "Virginia Pipeline Project Sparks A Flare-Up At Democratic Debate For Va Gov," The Washington Post , 5/4/17)

  • In 2013, Northam Reported That He Owned Between $10,000 And $50,000 Of Stock In Dominion Energy. "As a state senator, Ralph Northam began expanding his financial portfolio to include stock in companies that do extensive business in Virginia. In early 2013, he reported owning between $10,000 and $50,000 of stock in Dominion Energy, Virginia's largest utility and the top corporate donor to local campaigns." (Beth Reinhard, "Northam Owns Stocks In Dominion, Other Companies With Extensive Interests In Virginia," The Washington Post , 10/18/17)
  • Additionally Northam's Campaign And Political Committee Has Received More Than $88,000 From Dominion. "Dominion has poured more than $10.8 million into Virginia campaigns over the past two decades, more than any other company, according to VPAP. Northam's campaign and a political committee he controls received more than $88,000." (Beth Reinhard, "Northam Owns Stocks In Dominion, Other Companies With Extensive Interests In Virginia," The Washington Post , 10/18/17)

Northam Has Received Major Backlash From His Own Constituents Opposed To The Pipeline

Some Democrats Have Opposed Northam On Energy Issues. "For a guy whose party is supposed to be united behind him, Ralph Northam has faced moments of surprising disharmony from fellow Democrats in his campaign for Virginia governor." (Gregory S. Schneider, "'They Would Work Their Hearts Out For him' If Only Northam Opposed Pipelines, Protesters Say," The Washington Post , 7/30/17)

  • The Gubernatorial Candidate Has Been "Shouted Down" By Protesters And "Drawn Sniping On Party Blogs" About His Stance On The Pipeline. "The lieutenant governor has been shouted down by protesters at public events and drawn sniping on party blogs, all over a single issue: energy companies building two natural gas pipelines in rural parts of the state. Northam won't oppose the projects. Some Democrats despise them." (Gregory S. Schneider, "'They Would Work Their Hearts Out For him' If Only Northam Opposed Pipelines, Protesters Say," The Washington Post , 7/30/17)

During The First Gubernatorial Debate, A Protester Even Interrupted The Lt. Governor Yelling "Your Support For The Pipeline Is Grotesque." PROTESTER: "They stand for Dominion's profits, over clean water…" PBS NEWSMODERATOR JUDY WOODRUFF: "We're going to give the candidates…" PROTESTER: "…clean air and stable climate. Ralph Northam your support for the pipeline is grotesque." (Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, Remarks At The First Virginia Gubernatorial Debate , Hot Springs, VA, 7/22/17)

Click To Watch

Northam Has Remained Coy As To Whether He Supports The Dominion Pipelines And Has Instead, To Avoid Taking A Tough Stance, Punted And Hide Behind Bureaucratic Morass

Ralph Northam Has "Repeatedly Declined" To Take A Position On The Multibillion Dollar Atlantic Coast And Mountain Valley Pipeline Projects That Would Bring Fracked Gas Through Virginia. "The sponsor of one pipeline, Dominion Energy, is a major political donor whose largesse has come under fire this election season. Northam, who has received campaign cash from Dominion and owns stock in the company, repeatedly declined to stake out a position Thursday on the multibillion dollar Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines, which would bring fracked gas from West Virginia through Virginia." (Gregory S. Schneider, "Virginia Pipeline Project Sparks A Flare-Up At Democratic Debate For Va Gov," The Washington Post , 5/4/17)

  • Northam Exact Position Remains "Unusually Hazy On The Pipelines." "Northam casts himself as an environmentalist - raised on the Eastern Shore, opposed to offshore drilling, an advocate for alternative energy. But he has been unusually hazy on the pipelines." (Fennit Nirappil, "Ralph Northam Picks Up Additional $700K From Environmental Group," The Washington Post , 8/31/17)

During A July Debate, On The Topic Of The Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Northam Said That The Federal Government Will "Ultimately Make That Decision" To Build Or Not Build That Pipeline Through Virginia. "Referring to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) during a gubernatorial debate on July 22, Northam said, 'At the end of the day, this is a federal project. It comes from West Virginia, goes through Virginia, into North Carolina so we can do everything that we can in Virginia to make it safe and transparent, but at the end of the day, FERC will make that final decision-the energy review commission-and so I support all of that process.'" (Staff, "Verbatim Fact Check: Ralph Northam On Virginia," Ballotpedia , 8/29/17)

During The Second Virginia Gubernatorial Debate, Ralph Northam Dodged Answering A Question As To Whether He Would Support The Pipeline, Stating That He Would Defer To The Federal Government On The Matter "Because It Is A Federal Decision." NBC's CHUCK TODD: "Do you support this pipeline?" LT. GOVERNOR RALPH NORTHAM: "I have been clear as I can Chuck and that is the pipelines if they move forward, if they're done environmentally responsibly, if they're done with transparency, if they're done with people's properties rights in mind then I do support them yes." TODD: "So what the FERC did, the federal energy regulatory commission, is that enough or not enough for you?" NORTHAM: "Well again as I explained earlier we are working with the DEQ on the permitting, working with the core of engineers, and at the end of the day, yes, FERC will have the final decision because it is a federal decision." (Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, Remarks At The Second Virginia Gubernatorial Debate , George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, 10/19/17)

Click To Watch

Last Weekend, The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Approved The Virginia Pipelines, But Northam Offered A Tepid Response Continuing To Use The Bureaucracy As Cover

Over The Weekend, The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Approved The Virginia Pipelines. "Federal energy regulators late Friday approved two controversial natural gas pipelines proposed for construction through West Virginia. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued separate orders Friday night granting approval certificates for the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline." (Ken Ward Jr., "FERC Approves Mountain Valley, Atlantic Coast Pipeline Projects," Charleston Gazette-Mail , 10/13/17)

In Stating He Will Support The Pipeline If Regulators Sign Off, Northam Noted That More Agencies Need To Approve The Pipeline. "Northam says he'll support pipelines if regulators sign off. When I asked him today, he pointed out two more agencies still have to approve." (Fenit Nirappil, Twitter Feed , 10/14/17)

NORTHAM IS ALSO UNABLE TO PROVIDE VIRGINIANS WITH A COHERENT TAX PLAN

Despite Promising A Tax Reform Plan, Northam Has Yet To Release Any "Guiding Principles" Or Any Plan At All On His Campaign Website

In April, Northam's Campaign Announced It Would Release A Set Of "Guiding Principles" On Tax Reform, A Statement That Was Later Scrubbed From The Campaign Website. "What's more, Northam's campaign said in April it would release a set of 'guiding principles' on tax reform within a week. It never did, and a reference to that promise to voters was removed from the campaign's website - until a reporter pointed it out." (Fenit Nirappil and Laura Vozzella, "Virginia Republicans To Democrat Ralph Northam: Where's Your Tax Plan?" The Washington Post , 9/8/17)

In September, Northam Released An Ad Urging Voters To Visit His Website To Compare His "Bipartisan Tax Reform" Plan Against Gillespie's Tax Plan. "'To keep Virginia's economy growing, I want to build the best workforce in the nation, pass bipartisan tax reform focusing on the middle class, and invest in growing industries like biotech, cybersecurity and health care,' Northam says to the camera in the ad. 'Ed's plan is just another tax cut for the wealthy.' Northam then urges viewers to go online to compare for themselves." (Fenit Nirappil and Laura Vozzella, "Virginia Republicans To Democrat Ralph Northam: Where's Your Tax Plan?" The Washington Post , 9/8/17)

However, No Such Plan Currently Exists On The Campaign Website. "But there is no detailed tax plan on Northam's campaign website, aside from his call to lower grocery taxes for poor people and to create a bipartisan tax panel." (Fenit Nirappil and Laura Vozzella, "Virginia Republicans To Democrat Ralph Northam: Where's Your Tax Plan?" The Washington Post , 9/8/17)

  • As Of October 18, Northam's April Press Release That Talks About The Proposal Of "Phasing Out" The State Grocery Sales Tax And The Creation Of A "Tax Reform Commission" Are The Only Ideas Listed On The "Taxes" Tab. "Today, Lt. Governor Northam called for phasing out the regressive nature of the state grocery sales tax in Virginia. The Lieutenant Governor is calling for this change in policy as part of a broader look at tax reform in the commonwealth. He is committed to bringing together a tax reform commission that makes Virginia's tax code simpler, fairer, more progressive and fiscally responsible." (Press Release, "Northam Calls For A Phase Out Of The State Grocery Sales Tax On Low-Income Virginians," Ralph Northam For Governor , 4/24/17)

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