Cuccinelli's One-Man Fight against Uncle Sam

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Ken Cuccinelli is literally waging a one-man fight against the government. After his first 100 days in office, Virginia's attorney general had already secured his place in both Old Dominion and U.S. history. 

He's a rising star in the conservative movement and easily conjures "amens" from Tea Party activists. 

Almost immediately after taking an oath to uphold the Virginia and U.S. constitutions, Cuccinelli started doing battle with the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and even his alma mater the University of Virginia. And he's making no apologies.
           
"You know, if they're going to keep breaking the law, we're going to keep punching back," Cuccinelli told conservatives on election night last November. 

Challenging 'Obamacare,' Climate Change
           
Fifteen minutes after President Obama signed his controversial health care bill into law, Cuccinelli went to court, filing a lawsuit just blocks from Richmond's St. John's Church -- the same place where Patrick Henry delivered his famous "give me liberty or give me death" 235 years earlier.
           
His lawsuit targets the provision that requires Americans to purchase health insurance. A federal judge in Virginia sided with Cuccinelli, ruling the provision unconstitutional.
           
However, Cuccinelli's lawsuit against the health care law is just one way he's made national news and developed a national following. He's also challenged the EPA's plan to regulate greenhouse gases.
           
"These agencies are supposed to be doing good science-based regulation and that is very much in doubt I think," he said.
           
His other moves include: demanding the University of Virginia hand over climate change research to determine if the professor behind it relied on inaccurate data when applying for tax funded research grants. 

Gay Rights, Free Speech 

Cuccinelli also reminded Virginia's college and university presidents that state law does not include sexual orientation as a protected class under their non-discrimination clauses.

Some of his supporters were also disappointed when he chose not to sign on to a recent Supreme Court case against the controversial Westboro Baptist Church, known for protesting military funerals. 

However, true to form, Cuccinelli said he was standing up for free speech that's guaranteed in the Constitution, even when it's lousy.

"I mean, these people are loathsome. I mean, I'm Catholic, they're anti-Catholic, viciously so. It's not like I'm a fan," he said.

In a Class by Himself

Cuccinelli admits there's something about him that's unique in the political class.

"I'm willing to lose political contests; I'm willing to lose elections, and that gets in the way of a lot of other people's pursuit of the agenda they said they ran on," he said.

"I know why I'm here and I'm going to pursue it," he added. "And the people of Virginia will at some point in the future get another chance to judge whether they appreciate that or not. That's my form of leadership."

Before becoming Virginia's top lawyer, Cuccinelli served in the state Senate. He earned a reputation as a solid conservative, often battling moderate Republicans in the chamber.

His conservative principles make him fairly predictable. With Cuccinelli, voters know what they're getting. They sent him to Richmond with a mandate, giving him more total votes than any other attorney general in Virginia history.

Faith and Politics Intertwined

Cuccinelli said he has a passionate interest in protecting the Constitution and that it's no coincidence he's serving as attorney general right now.  

"I do think there is a plan unfolding and I'm part of it. I'm happy to be part of it," he told CBN News. "One of my goals for myself is to try to be part of it. And not to deny His will as best I can discern it."

His Catholic faith helps form his thinking. He said he has yet to come to a conclusion about public policy that isn't fortified by his faith.

Despite a busy job, he said he loves going home to his wife, Alice Monteiro "Teiro," and their seven children - five girls and two boys.

"She has to get the credit," he said about his wife. "She works harder than I do. Raising seven kids is a lot of work."

Last Line of Defense

At 42, Cuccinelli has the potential for a long political career. So what does the future hold?

"I look forward to the day when the people in my office are bored."

Since that's not likely to happen any time soon, he said he'll seek re-election. He believes state attorneys general are the last line of defense against the encroachment of the federal government.

"We'll see what God's got in mind for us and try to follow the lead as best as we can figure it out."

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Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.