FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (WJLA) -- Ken Cuccinelli attended what was purported to be a town hall meeting Monday night in Fredericksburg but instead wound up participating in a friendly and spirited softball game.
Some 150 people, mostly white and mostly well past their 20s, gathered at city's Expo & Conference Center for a biographical debriefing from the Republican nominee for governor after which he spent the next hour or so fielding questions and never missing a chance to needle his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe.
Hardball it was not.
This was the third in a series of planned town hall meetings throughout the state. Only during the first, in Hampton Roads, has the Star Scientific controversy surrounding Gob. Bob McDonnell been broached. No one at Monday night's affair seemed much interested in that - if at all - and instead offered questions that often were prefaced by a rousing endorsement of the candidate.
First one out of the box was a man who, reading from a prepared text, expressed his displeasure with "unconstitutional, socialist programs of big government. . .which are promoted by the liberal media and the public education system which has brain-washed our American voters." He asked Cuccinelli what he would do "to break through this wall of deception."
After raucous applause, Cuccinelli responded.
". . .One of the questions I got from Republicans after last year's election was, 'Oh my God. Now what?,' '' he said. ". . .My answer to that was offer alternatives. And the way to do that is by using states as laboratories of democracy. Virginia is on a very different path than, say Maryland. . .Maryland's path is a lot closer to Washington's than Virginia's."
Later there was a woman who favored what Prince William did several years ago about "getting rid of their illegal aliens," and she wanted to know what he would on the issue of elected.
Cuccinelli replied that as attorney general, he helped push through a program that requires "background checks on someone who's been arrested. . .to identify whether this is a person who is subject to deportation."
There was a man who's "pro-life and very concerned about the definition of family," and wanted to know how much time Cuccinelli planned to dwell on "so-called social issues" during the campaign.
Much as he did during Saturday's gubernatorial debate at The Homestead, Cuccinelli was quick to pivot away from his well-chronicled opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.
"I believe what I believe," he said. "I support life also, and I've been an advocate for protecting traditional marriage. . .but I will tell you the primary focus when people sit up and think about this race is job creation. It's the economy. My fundamental principles don't change and my positions don't change.
"I'm going to be confronted with those issues and I'm going to stand my ground but the focus of policy change and effort is going to be in the job-creation area."