Terry McAuliffe on Sunday downplayed a recent remark in which he observed that President Joe Biden's sagging popularity is hurting his bid to become Virginia's next governor and reiterated on CNN's "State of the Union" that Democrats in Washington need to pass a stalled bipartisan infrastructure bill.
"It's not dragging me down," McAuliffe told CNN's Dana Bash, referring to the lack of action by Democrats in Washington. "I worry about the people of Virginia."
"Here's my message to everybody in Washington: Pass this infrastructure bill. We are desperate in the states," McAuliffe said. "We need these roads and bridges fixed. ... Get in a room, here's what we need and here's what it's going to cost. This should not be so difficult."
That's a step back from his comments on a virtual call to supporters last week.
"We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington, as you know. The President is unpopular today unfortunately here in Virginia, so we got to plow through," the former governor said then.
McAuliffe on Sunday again called on lawmakers in Washington to pass the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.
"We've got frustration with Washington. You know, why haven't we passed this infrastructure bill? It passed the US Senate with 69 votes two months ago. I have been very straight on television. We're tired of the chitty-chat up in Washington. Get into a room and get this figured out," McAuliffe said. "You know, they're paid to get up in Washington, get this done, and the frustration is why isn't it done by now? 69 votes in the Senate two months ago. Get it done this week. Do your job."
The race to be Virginia's governor has tightened in recent weeks, with polling indicating that McAuliffe holds a narrow lead over Republican Glenn Youngkin in a state where Biden won by 10 percentage points in 2020. In Washington, bitter intraparty fighting among Democrats has slowed the passage of the infrastructure bill in the House, as progressives demand the Senate also pass a multi-trillion-dollar bill to expand the nation's social safety net. Meanwhile, amid the stalled legislation, fallout over the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal, scenes of migrant surges at the US-Mexico border and lackluster jobs reports, Biden's popularity has diminished.
Asked by Bash if the lack of agreement in Washington was making things hard for his campaign, McAuliffe would not say but expressed confidence that he would win the election.
"You know, hard or not, I mean people understand what I'm doing, my plans, my 20 big plans to take Virginia to the next level, so they're going to vote for me, but there is frustration all over the country. We just want action," he said.
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