Further underlining Climate Change’s maturation as a potent political issue – a new ad in the Virginia Governor's race features GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli’s crazed fixation on persecution of climate scientist Mike Mann.
RICHMOND — The newest TV ad in the Virginia governor’s race focuses on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II’s legal battle with a University of Virginia climate scientist.
Titled “Witch Hunt,” the commercial recalls a two-year effort by Cuccinelli, the GOP nominee for governor and a climate change skeptic, to obtain records from Michael Mann, then a U-Va. researcher.
The campaign of Terry McAuliffe, Cuccinelli’s Democratic rival, released the ad Monday. It declined to say where it will run and for how long.
“It’s been called ‘Cuccinelli’s witch hunt.’ ‘Designed to intimidate and suppress,’ ” a narrator for the 30-second spot says, quoting newspaper editorials from the time.
“Ken Cuccinelli used taxpayer funds to investigate a U-Va. professor whose research on climate change Cuccinelli opposed. Cuccinelli, a climate change denier, forced the university to spend over half a million dollars defending itself against its own attorney general. Ken Cuccinelli — he’s focused on his own agenda, not us.”
The ad is part of McAuliffe’s broader strategy to portray himself as a business-oriented moderate and Cuccinelli as someone outside the mainstream on a range of cultural issues. The opening image of the ad shows McAuliffe sitting at table, having a seemingly productive discussion with others gathered there.
In 2010, Cuccinelli issued a civil investigative demand — essentially a subpoena — for grant applications and correspondence exchanged among Mann, research assistants, and scientists around the country. He based that demand on a 2002 state law designed to combat government employees defrauding the public of tax dollars. Cuccinelli said he was trying to investigate if Mann had, while seeking grants to study climate change, had used manipulated data to show that there has been a recent spike rise in the Earth’s temperature.The story became national news as part of a broad campaign by right wing science denial groups to intimidate, spy on, and persecute scientists whose research ran counter to fossil fuel and other corporate interests.
Dr. Mann discussed the episode in his Chapman lecture here.