Moran hits McAuliffe for backing Clinton, not Obama

The Virginia governors race took an interesting turn this weekend when former Delegate Brian Moran (D) aired radio ads that hit Terry McAuliffe (D) for his work for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

The ads are an attempt to bring to light a big undercurrent in the race to light: Can McAuliffe, one of Clinton's biggest backers, win in Virginia, which voted for Obama over Clinton by a stunning 63 percent to 35 percent margin?

The ads, available here, are based on Obama's popularity in the state.

"The truth is, Terry McAuliffe led the campaign that ran the 3 A.M. attack ad against Barack Obama," the narrator says, "The fact is if Terry McAuliffe had his way, Barack Obama wouldn't be our president today."

"McAuliffe even went on national TV and joked, Barack Obama could, quote, 'Kiss my [BLEEP].'"

The ads are significant because McAuliffe is widely viewed as having the momentum going into the June 9 Democratic primary against Moran and state Sen. Creigh Deeds. The ads suggest that Moran's polling shows that he is trailing McAuliffe and needs to knock him around a bit in an attempt to change the narrative.

The McAuliffe camp responded forcefully on Monday saying in an email that the Moran camp "has reached a new low."

"Last night they unveiled a false attack ad, set to air on African-American radio stations, that's deliberately designed to deceive voters into believing Terry opposed Barack Obama's candidacy last November," Mike Henry, McAuliffe's campaign manager, wrote in an email. "Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Immediately after the primary, Terry led the charge for Democrats to unite behind Barack Obama."

It'll be interesting to see how much play this gets. Could Moran pull off a game changer? Or does McAuliffe already have the Democratic nomination in the bag?

jeremy.jacobs@thehill.com