Cuccinelli Censors Virginia Seal

Attorney general covers up goddess's breast

By Matthew Stabley
|  Monday, May 3, 2010  |  Updated 7:06 PM EDT
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Cuccinelli Cover Up

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Cuccinelli Cover Up

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinnelli has recently been sporting a more modest version of the state seal on his suit lapel.
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Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli risked more national ridicule when he gave his staff a PG version of the commonwealth seal recently.

The seal features the Roman goddess Virtus in a pose that suggests she might be about to compromise her virtue. Her blue tunic is draped over one shoulder, leaving her left breast exposed like she's performing in a Super Bowl halftime show.

When Cuccinelli gave his staffers lapel pins of the seal, it was a rendition modified for modesty with Virtus wearing an armored breastplate over both breasts,the Virginian-Pilot reported.

The joke might be on him, said University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato.

“When you ask to be ridiculed, it usually happens. And it will happen here, nationally,” he said. “This is classical art, for goodness’ sake.”

In other words, what a boob.

Cuccinelli must enjoy seeing himself on "The Daily Show." In March, John Stewart mocked the Republican after he told state colleges and universities they don't have legal authority to prevent discrimination against their gay employees.

"You can't be gay in college?" Stewart asked. "That's the whole point of going to college."

A Cuccinelli spokesman said the attorney general's lapel pins are designed after an older, not-so-blue version of the seal.

Later Cuccinelli released a statement about Virtus-gate:

"The seal on my pin is one of many seal variations that were used before a uniform version was created in 1930. I felt it was historic and would be something unique for my staff. My joke about Virtue being a little more virtuous in her more modest clothing was intended to get laughs from my employees -- which it did! Just because we've always done something a certain way doesn't mean we always have to continue doing it that way. Now seriously, can we get on with real news?"

On Monday, Cuccinelli said he'd stop using the lapel pin, calling the media reports about it a distraction.

HamptonRoads.com may have found the source of Cuccinelli's pin.  Could it be from the 1860s?

Our initial story quoted Gottstein saying that Cuccinelli opted to put an historic image of the seal on his pin.

A few observant readers noted that Cuccinelli's rendition appears to be strikingly similar to a seal design on a version of the Virginia flag apparently used in the early 1860s, around the time when the state seceded from the Union, according to this Web site. (The Web site also indicates Virginia officially adopted a state flag in 1861.)

It also bears a slight resemblance to a Virginia flag from a past era currently on display in the State Capitol which features Virtus clad in armor.

(The design of the current state flag is detailed in this section of state code.)

The lapel pins were paid for with money from Cuccinelli's political action committee, not taxpayer funds.

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