McAuliffe's inaugural speech to include measured rhetoric

(WJLA) - Terry McAuliffe will be sworn in Saturday as Virginia’s 72nd governor following a divisive campaign against Republican Ken Cuccinelli that attracted national attention, and his spokesman said this week the inaugural speech will be based on the inauguration’s theme: “Common Ground for Virginia.”

Depending on one’s perspective, two of the more noteworthy inaugural speeches by Democrats the past 12 months – for reasons both of stature and of substance – sparked relative controversy in the form of partisan delight and dismay.

There was President Barack Obama’s soaring address to begin his second term, in which he thrilled the assembled with goals that mostly included social issues and income inequality. The choir happily sang along but, as Yuval Levin wrote in the National Review:

“The president probably didn’t even quite see that his second inaugural was almost certainly the most partisan inaugural address in American history — more partisan than one delivered on the brink of civil war, or in the midst of it, or after the most poisonous and bitterly contested election in our history. . .”

More recently, there was New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s inaugural speech in which he pledged to help bridge the gap between the well-off and the not-so-well-off; that he wanted one New York. One problem, as was pointed out by the New York Times editorial board:

“Too bad the speakers on stage with him didn’t get the unity part, marring the event with backward-looking speeches both graceless and smug. Worst among them, but hardly alone, was the new public advocate, Letitia James, who used her moment for her own head-on attack: on the 12 years of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"In doing so, she made a prop of a 12-year-old girl named Dasani, who had to hold the Bible and Ms. James’s hand as Ms. James called for a government “that cares more about a child going hungry than a new stadium or a new tax credit for a luxury development.”

Former President Clinton, who spoke respectfully of Bloomberg during de Blasio’s event, also will be on hand this weekend in Richmond, as will his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – both of whom campaigned for their close friend.

Based on a nuts-and-bolts preview of McAuliffe’s speech provided by spokesman Brian Coy, such aforementioned flaps appear unlikely.

“He is seeking to spend four years bringing people together around common sense solutions to the challenges we face as a Commonwealth,” Coy said, “including creating jobs and growing the economy, improving education and workforce training, expanding access to health care and reforming mental health, spending our transportation dollars wisely and reforming Virginia’s ethics laws.”