Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee for governor of Virginia, released an attack ad on Wednesday that chides Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe for profiting from Global Crossing, a failed fiber-optics company. The ad claims McAuliffe enriched himself through investments in Global Crossing, and also features former company employees lamenting the loss of their careers after the company took a downturn. As it turns out, however, two of the three former Global Crossing workers featured in the ad had no idea their testimony was going to be used to score political points.
Mother Jones spoke to Deb Goehring and Corey Darrow, the two former employees who appear in the ad, and found they were never told that what they said would be part of an attack ad. “If I had known that’s what it was for, I never would’ve agreed to the interview,” Goehring told Mother Jones. “I know nothing whatsoever about Terry McAuliffe, and I don’t have any feelings about him one way or the other.”
Goehring also said that the soundbites used in the ad misrepresent her feelings toward Global Crossing. She says in the ad: “I got walked out and that was it. My career was over.” After Mother Jones showed her Cuccinelli’s ad, Goehring replied, “Wow, that was likely the only negative thing that I said in the entire hour-and-a-half interview. But, it’s true, I did get walked out and my career with GC was over. However, that has nothing whatsoever to do with [McAuliffe], as far as I know.”
According to Mother Jones, a man who identified himself as James Abushar contacted Goehring and Darrow and said he wanted them to comment for a documentary he wished to make about Global Crossing. When contacted by the magazine, Abushar said “I didn’t do any ad. You need to approach the folks who did that.” He did not offer any clues as to who put together the attack ad.
Abushar also contacted John Pusloskie, president of the Communications Workers of America chapter in Rochester. Convinced by Abushar, Pusloskie directed him to the union’s retiree club and opened up to the supposed filmmaker. “I spilled my guts to the guy,” Pusloskie said.
After seeing the political ad, Pusloskie told Mother Jones he feels like he was taken advantage of. “I’m pretty pissed off that somebody comes in here saying he’s something, then taking advantage of people who are extremely hurt by the situation and using it for a political purpose.”
Cuccinelli is catching heat for the ad from Democrats across the country. Vermont Gov. Pete Shumlin, the chair of the Democratic Governors Association, said in a conference call Friday: “Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign has been lobbing desperate and misleading attacks against Terry for months now, but I would argue this new ad has gone over the line and it opens up a new frontier of slime in American politics.”
Charniele Herring, chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia, also called for the ad’s removal. “It’s time for Ken Cuccinelli to withdraw this deceptive ad out of respect for the people his campaign manipulated into appearing in it and apologize to the people of this Commonwealth for his dishonest tactics,” Herring said in a press release.
Virginia voters, it seems, may share this sentiment. A Rasmussen poll released today shows Cuccinelli trailing McAuliffe by 7 percent.