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Could Obamacare Sink McAuliffe?

12:40 PM, Nov 3, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Could the focus on Obamacare in the last couple of weeks before Tuesday's Virginia gubernatorial election enable the Republican nominee, Ken Cuccinelli, to come from behind in the homestretch? He's run a pretty awful campaign so far, and has been trailing badly for months, but ...

McAuliffe Cuccinelli

Kate Wellingham/Gage Skidmore

It's striking that as Obamacare took over national headlines the last few weeks, and as Cuccinelli has focused on his opposition of Obamacare and on Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe's embrace of it, the race seems to have tightened from a double-digit margin to perhaps five points or less.

And we now have a Democratic candidate for the house of delegates, Kathleen Murphy, running in a competitive Northern Virginia district (mine!), saying she believes the state should force Virginia doctors to accept Medicare and Medicare patients. This is of course a kind of extension of the logic of Obamacare.

So: Shouldn't Cuccinelli and friendly outside groups, in the final two days of the campaign, try to make the race a full-fledged referendum on Obamacare? It's late in the day, of course. But if I controlled a few hundred thousand dollars, I would robocall and leaflet every home I could in the state, making Kathleen Murphy's statement famous, tying McAuliffe (who’s already a big Obamacare defender) to his fellow Democrat, and making clear that a vote for McAuliffe is a vote to extend, expand, and entrench Obamacare in Virginia, and that, conversely, a vote for Cuccinelli is a vote to begin to limit, repeal, and replace Obamacare.

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