A Coach for Kilgore?

It's no secret that Jerry Kilgore's performance at the July 16 debate exceeded all expectations.

Some detractors said that all the Republican candidate for governor had to do to exceed expectations was to avoid tripping over his tie as he walked onto the stage.

But Kilgore offered a disciplined, effective performance. He seemed well-prepared for all of the questions thrown his way, and was clearly ready for the brief back-and-forth with Tim Kaine. At previous meetings between the two -- and there have been few -- Kaine clearly had the edge and was able to rattle Kilgore. This time, Kaine seemed to be back on his heels more than once.

So what happened?

Maybe the person to ask is Brett O'Donnell.


Brett O'Donnell is listed in state records as the principal owner of O'Donnell and Associates Ltd., a firm that Kilgore's campaign paid $3,000 and listed as a "consultant" to the effort.

A Google search turns up the fact that O'Donnell is also the director of debate at Liberty University.


In his bio on the Web site, O'Donnell touts his record as having coached the number one debate teams at Penn State and Liberty University for several of the last 14 years. He also notes that in 2004, he served as "special adviser" to President Bush for the presidential debates.

A spokesman for Kilgore campaign declined to say anything about O'Donnell. A spokesman for the Kaine campaign said that Kaine had no need for a debate coach.

By Michael Shear |  July 26, 2005; 4:45 PM ET  | Category:  Jerry Kilgore
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Most people didn't get to see the debate. Those who might be interested in the debate can read the transcript, and there Jerry Kilgore comes off robot-like, repeating the same words over and over again, while Tim Kaine actually gives thoughtful answers.

Posted by: Guest | July 27, 2005 03:03 PM

Robot? Naw....Kilgore is more of a puppet. And, his nose is getting pretty big right about now. Just imagine what it will look like come November.

Posted by: Gepetto, Richmond, Va. | July 27, 2005 10:17 PM

I'm sure the Kaine folks are just trying to stir this up so they can make excuses why their boss lost the debate.

Posted by: Sam | July 27, 2005 10:36 PM

Kaine doesn't need a coach? I would agree that before he gets a debate coach, he should figure out where he stands on the issues, but for those who were at the debate, it was apparent that Kaine got bested by Kilgore. Even Kaine was in shock on Kilgore's performance in the debate.

Posted by: Chris | July 28, 2005 01:24 AM

I would say, as one who witnessed the debate, that if Kilgore had a coach then Kaine should get one.

Kilgore schooled him.

Posted by: Walter | July 29, 2005 01:55 AM

Why not get a "coach"? If one wants to win an election every tool at one's disposal should be utilized. Kilgore is just showing good sense by using whatever help he may need.

Posted by: Molly | August 25, 2005 12:40 PM

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