• With: Kim Strassel, Dan Henninger, Steve Moore, Joe Rago

    RAGO: That's right. All the contractors that HHS hired are denying paternity --


    -- you know, wiping down their websites. "We have no part of this."


    Some of the big ones, CGI Federal, it's a Canadian company, and some of these other ones are refusing to talk to the press. It's amazing.

    GIGOT: What a debacle.

    When we come back, an increasingly nasty statewide campaign with big implications for national politics. From the Democrats' war-on-women strategy to Hillary Clinton's 2016 ambitions, a look at what's at stake in the Virginia governor's race, next.


    GIGOT: The race for governor in Virginia is heating up. And with just over three weeks to go, the battle between former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is taking on national significance as both sides assess the potential fallout from the government shutdown, the success of the Democrat's war-on-women strategy, and Hillary Clinton's plans for 2016.

    We're back with Dan Henninger, Kim Strassel and Steve Moore.

    So I want to show you all an ad that Terry McAuliffe is running against Ken Cuccinelli to start. Let's roll.


    UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: I've very troubled by Ken Cuccinelli.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: He tried to change Virginia's divorce laws.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: To prevent women from getting out a bad marriage.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Ken Cuccinelli denies climate change exists.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: And he used taxpayer dollars to investigate a UVA professor doing research.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: And Cuccinelli tried to ban common forms of birth control.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Even the pill.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Even the pill.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Ken Cuccinelli is just way too extreme.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Way too extreme.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Way too extreme.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Way too extreme for Virginia.


    GIGOT: You got that? That way too extreme?


    That bill that in enough to drive that message home?


    So, Kim, what do you make of that strategy?


    STRASSEL: This is not a new strategy, Paul.


    This is actually a strategy that Democrats fine-tuned last year in the presidential election. They used in states like Indiana and North Dakota. You go into a purple or a red state, you take the social conservative, you focus on wedge issues, things like divorce, abortion, contraception --

    GIGOT: He's not really against divorce?

    STRASSEL: No, of course, he's not. Of course, he's not.


    GIGOT: You can't ban divorce.

    STRASSEL: Ken Cuccinelli is a respected lawyer. And he's not for any of these things that this claims. But you go out there, you claim those guys are too extreme for the state they're in. You drive up their negatives, particularly among these key voting groups, like women, suburban women, for instance, and then you -- the Democrat swoops in and says, I'm the moderate, sensible alternative, and you win the election.

    GIGOT: You know, Steve, this is a different campaign that McAuliffe is running. He's running really in Virginia as an Obama liberal on the culture. And previous Democratic winners in recent decades in the state have run more as cultural centrists. I'm talking about Tim Kaine and Mark Warner. They were very cautious on things like gun control, like the abortion issue, like the environment. But now, McAuliffe's really running on this new coalition, this coalition of young people, as Kim talked about, women, minorities. Does that mean Virginia's changing as a state and becoming much more Democratic?