Cantor: Deeds is ‘Toughest Candidate’ for GOP

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports:

Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., played political handicapper in the Virginia governor’s race today in an interview with ABC News, saying that Democrats have chosen the most difficult candidate for Republicans to match up against in R. Creighton Deeds.

“He’s the toughest candidate for us, because he will blur the difference,” Cantor said of Deeds, who will run against Republican Bob McDonnell in the November election for governor of Virginia.

Cantor told ABC that Republicans would have rather seen Terry McAuliffe, the former DNC chairman and top fundraiser for both Bill and Hillary Clinton, win the Democratic nomination.

“Before you had Terry McAuliffe, who would be tied to Bill Clinton . . . and Clinton never won Virginia. It was pretty clear what you’re running against when you’re running against Clinton,” Cantor said. “He [Deeds] has more rural constituency. He tends to really track what the state is about.”

Nonetheless, Cantor predicted that Deeds would triumph over McDonnell, whom he faced off against four years ago in the race for state attorney general. (McDonnell won a narrow victory.)

“Creigh Deeds is certainly a tough opponent but he is someone who has obviously demonstrated his allegiance to higher taxes and more spending,” Cantor said. We’ll have more of our interview with Cantor on’s “Top Line” today at noon ET. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., and Ana Marie Cox of Air America will also be on the today’s show. [Gutierrez canceled due to House votes.]

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