The footage, released by the political journalist Lauren Windsor, shows the GOP candidate, Glenn Youngkin, speaking at a campaign stop last month. Mr Youngkin tells Windsor he’s “staunchly, unabashedly pro-life,” and another person asks him if he’ll “take it to the abortionists.”
The Republican’s answer is surprisingly candid.
“I’m going to be really honest with you,” Mr Youngkin says. “The short answer is in this campaign, I can’t. When I’m governor and I have a majority in the House, we can start going on offense. But as a campaign topic, sadly, that in fact won’t win my independent votes that I have to get.”
Mr Youngkin’s opponent, former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, blasted the response.
“After last night’s revelations, it’s clear Glenn Youngkin is trying to hide his right-wing agenda from Virginians,” the Democrat tweeted. “No wonder he’s been dodging the debates!”
As the video began making the rounds on local and national news media, Mr Youngkin’s campaign began doing damage control. On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Republican said the video actually shows his consistency.
“Glenn Youngkin tells everyone he meets the same thing: he can’t wait to go on offense for the people of Virginia by building a rip-roaring economy, creating more jobs with bigger paychecks, restoring excellence in education, prioritizing public safety, and making Virginia the best place in America to live, work, and raise a family,” Matt Wolking, Mr Youngkin’s communications director, said in a statement.
According to a Washington Post report, Mr Youngkin has lived up to the strategy he outlined in the video. In May, when he first won the Republican nomination, he openly championed his anti-abortion views.
“Friends, together, all of us, we will protect the life of every Virginia child born and unborn,” he said in his victory speech.
Since then, however, the Post says he’s gone silent on the issue.
If he’s elected, however, Mr Youngkin has promised to “go on offense” again. The strategy has struck some critics as a dishonest bait-and-switch.
“For months @GlennYoungkin has claimed he’s a moderate who won’t interfere with Virginian’s reproductive freedom,” Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia wrote on Twitter. “But his comments are abundantly clear: He is out-of-touch by any standard. He wants to ban abortion and he’ll lie to Virginia voters so he can do so from the Gov Desk.”
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