ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - As a former Republican National Committee chairman and counselor to former President George W. Bush, Ed Gillespie knows political talking points like Beethoven knew music.
So it went Wednesday on NewsChannel 8's NewsTalk, during which the GOP candidate trying to grab Democrat Mark Warner's U.S. Senate seat was expertly disciplined despite host Bruce DePuyt's attempts to get Gillespie to address a few controversial issues.
To wit, Gillespie said he is running because:
"I know we can do better than the (current) policies." "We've got to cut wasteful spending and balance our budget again." "If you're for economic growth, you're for Ed Gillespie." "(Warner) voted 98 percent of the time with Obama. . .We have a very different agenda."
In the latest available polling numbers, Warner - a popular former Virginia governor - has a cumulative 16-point lead, according to Real Clear Politics.
Asked by DePuyt to more or less put on his RNC hat and address whether some perceived controversial GOP rhetoric from elected officials or candidatesin some parts of the countryis hurting the party, Gillespie deftly and politely changed the subject. Ditto for concerns about the Tea Party.
He did, though, address the Medicaid-expansion issue in Richmond - to a point, anyway. He agrees with the GOP-controlled General Assembly that accepting federal funds is not the way to go.
"It's a state issue," he said, "but that's my view."
Gillespie grinned when asked whether his advisor career can be useful during the race.
"I try to take my own advice and practice what I preach," he said with a chuckle.