Obama campaign defends Thorne-Begland - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Obama campaign defends Thorne-Begland

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CHICAGO, IL (WWBT) -

The fallout continues over the failure of the Virginia House of Delegates to approve an openly gay man as a Richmond District Court Judge.

Tracey Thorne-Begland's outspoken opposition to "Don't Ask Don't Tell" during his time as a fighter pilot, led conservatives to defeat his nomination.

Their decision is now front and center in the biggest political battle in America.

Only one person ranks higher than Stephanie Cutter on the Obama for America staff, and she knew all about the political squabble in Richmond.

"The man is overly-qualified to be a judge," she said of Thorne Begland.

Cutter doesn't buy Republican claims that it was because he was vocally opposed to "Don't Ask Don't Tell" during his time in the military. 

"He is a well-known successful prosecutor," Cutter said.  "That is how the legislature should be making these decisions. Not based on someone's own sexual orientation."

But that wasn't all; Cutter challenged Mitt Romney, the GOP candidate for president, to condemn the House of Delegates for failing to nominate Thorne-Begland to a judgeship responsible for traffic tickets and petty vandalism.

"I think that it is an opportunity for Mitt Romney to stand up and say what the legislature did is just plain wrong," she said.

The Romney campaign refused to take the bait.

"This is yet another example of how President Obama and his campaign would rather talk about anything other than his failed economic record." said spokesman Curt Cashour.

Cashour said that with Obama's economic policies it is, "No wonder the Obama campaign is trying to change the subject."

The Obama campaign was talking about the economy today, specifically Mitt Romney's work at private equity firm, Bain Capital. But despite everyone saying the economy is the number one issue, somehow these controversial social issues continue to grab headlines.

We have extended clips from Cutter's remarks on Decision Virginia.

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