Ken Cuccinelli has made his latest play to curry favor with the GOP’s far-right wing, and to turn himself into a power player in conservative circles.
The hard-charging Virginia attorney general addressed religious conservatives Thursday night at an event sponsored by Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University — whose roster of speakers included a self-proclaimed “Christocrat”, as well as an evangelist who has claimed she can cure AIDS and other diseases through prayer.In his speech at the Freedom Federation’s The Awakening 2010 summit in Lynchburg, Va., Cuccinelli vowed to use his office to confront what he sees as an overly intrusive federal government, the Lynchburg News Advocate reported. “We are battling for the Constitution, that’s what we are doing in the attorney general’s office,” he said.
Among the other scheduled speakers was Rick Scarborough, a Texas pastor who spoke at the recent Tea Party convention in Nashville, where he attacked gays several times, and who in 2007 told CNN: “I’m not a Republican. I’m not a Democrat. I’m a Christocrat. My allegiance is to Jesus Christ.”
Another speaker was Cindy Jacobs, a Texas evangelist and author, who has told audiences she has faith healing powers. “If you need any kind of miracle at all, you just get up and start to move towards the front, because the cloud of glory is gonna come,” Jacobs said at a religious conference in Dallas last month, promising to cure hepatitis C, AIDS, glaucoma and cancer, as well as injured backs and feet.
At another event in Argentina in 2008, Jacobs led a mass exorcism in which she attempted to rid the room of the “spirits” of pornography, addiction and homosexuality.
Of course, the fact that Cuccinelli spoke at the same event as Scarborough and Jacobs doesn’t mean he necessarily endorses every one of their views. But his participation certainly offers further evidence of his bid — noted earlier this month by TPM — to build a position as a leader of his party’s conservative wing.
In the past three months, Cuccinelli has sued the federal government to overturn the new health care law, penned a letter to Virginia’s state colleges and universities saying they lack the legal authority to ban anti-gay discrimination (a move Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell quickly distanced himself from), and launched a political action committee to build his influence in state politics. He’s also addressed several Tea Party events, including a “Tenth Amendment Rally” in Richmond.
Several other prominent conservative activists — including Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, RNC member Ken Blackwell and Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition — also spoke at the event.
Cuccinelli’s office did not respond to a request for comment about his appearance at the event.