Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat running for governor in Virginia during an off-year election, was seen in a video teleconference raising concern about President Biden’s popularity in the state amid the election seen as a bellwether and referendum on the president’s time in office.
“We got to get Democrats out to vote,” he said. “We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington, as you know. The president is unpopular today, unfortunately here in Virginia so we have got to plow through.”
The video cuts off after the remark. McAuliffe’s campaign did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News.
Republicans seized on the video clip. Tommy Pigott, a rapid response director for the GOP, tweeted out that a recent poll showed 46% of the state approves Biden’s performance.
“And just like Virginia is rejecting Biden, voters will reject McAuliffe in November,” he posted.
McAuliffe is facing Republican Glenn Youngkin and recent polls suggest a close race. McAuliffe is seeking a second term after his first ended in 2018, and Youngkin is a former business executive.
McAuliffe has tried to tie Youngkin to former President Trump, who lost Virginia by 10 points. At one point he called Youngkin “bought and paid for” by the former president. Youngkin has sought to portray McAuliffe as a failed politician.
Rachael Bade, a reporter for Politico, told ABC’s “This Week” that McAuliffe has been showing Democrats how to run, and has “definitely been distancing himself” from the president during the campaign.
James Hohmann, a columnist for the Washington Post, wrote in a recent column that Youngkin “ripped Biden during the final debate in Alexandria on Tuesday for’an abject failure of leadership’ in Afghanistan and the ‘absolute chaos’ at the southern border. McAuliffe didn’t come to the president’s defense on either issue. Instead, he said a $3.5 trillion price tag for the Democratic reconciliation package is “too high.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report