By Kerry Dougherty
No one who knows my political leanings would expect me to watch a debate between Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe and declare the Democrat the winner.
I’ve met McAuliffe. I’ve seen him work a room. The guy Larry Sabato once dismissively called “a bag man for the Clintons” can be rather charming. That Terry McAuliffe was not on stage last night.
In his place was a man who was positively Nixonian: angry, dour and rude. He engaged in name-calling – repeatedly calling Youngkin “clueless” – and yapped incessantly about Trump.
Youngkin was ready for the tedious Trump tropes. “Let’s have Terry McAuliffe versus Glenn Youngkin and let Virginia voters decide who they want the next governor to be,” Youngkin suggested.
McAuliffe turned off the charm last night and turned on the attack. He tried his best to make Youngkin look like a far-right “tin-foil hat” candidate, but it didn’t work. Where McAuliffe was angry and emotional, Youngkin was poised, reasonable and most importantly, well-prepared.
But it was a question on schools where McAuliffe — who’s raking in money from teachers unions — blurted out something that will undoubtedly appear in Youngkin ads before the week is out.
In response to a question on schools, Youngkin said, “I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education.”
McAuliffe retorted: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
Great sound bite.