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McDonnell and Jindal in Iowa

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Governor Bob McDonnell makes calls on behalf of Mitt Romney in Iowa. He is joined by a fellow VP prospect, LA Governor Bobby Jindal.
(from the Governor’s facebook page)

Written by Ryan Nobles

July 26, 2012 at 9:47 pm

The “build that” battle heats up

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Governor Bob McDonnell still won’t talk about his prospects, but Wednesday he started a two day run on behalf of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

McDonnell joined two local business owners to keep up a chorus of attacks over a line in President Barack Obama‘s speech in Roanoke earlier in the month.  The attacks have been so fierce that the president himself responded to them directly in a TV ad.

At a local small business, McDonnell was joined by two local business owners who claimed they were offended by the comments.

But the Obama campaign is not just allowing the attacks to go unanswered.

Here is my report for NBC12:

  It was one line in a speech delivered by president obama here in Virginia and it has quickly become a key battle point in the presidential election.

 The president was talking about the importance of the government’s role in creating and helping businesses survive. But his remarks have offended some small business owners and the Romney campaign is seizing on the opportunity.

 It was one line that has transformed into a campaign slogan for Mitt Romney.

 “If you got a business,” Obama said in Roanoke.  “You didn’t build that.”

You didn’t build that, has become “we did build it” and on a banner behind a Governor Bob McDonnell at a Romney event in Richmond. 

“This is a president and an administration that is out of touch, out of ideas and as far as I am concerned out of time,” McDonnell said.

The president has personally responded to the attack line with a new campaign ad.

“Those ads taking my words about small business out of context;” Obama says speaking directly to the camera, “They’re flat out wrong.”

But, local business owner Melissa Ball, said reading the entire speech, made her even more upset.

“The one phrase wasn’t even as bad as the whole together,” she said.  

Democrats counter that Ball is the perfect example of a business owner who has directly benefited from government help.

“The recovery act helped some small business get access to capital,” among other things, pointed out Obama supporter Del. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond)

read and see the full story on NBC12.com

 Meanwhile, McDonnell heads to Iowa tomorrow along with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Both are considered contenders in the VP stakes.

Written by Ryan Nobles

July 25, 2012 at 11:17 pm

McDonnell won’t talk about VP prospects

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Despite my best efforts, Governor Bob McDonnell refused to entertain any notion of his prospects as a potential running mate for Mitt Romney.

The Governor was hosting an event Wednesday for Romney at a Richmond small business. He is headed to Iowa on Romney’s behalf on Thursday.

He did make a few jokes, perhaps hinted at a future presidential run, but flatly refused to talk about any role he may play on the GOP 2012 ticket.

Here is our exchange:

But we did learn that he thinks Iowa has nice cows this time of year.

Written by Ryan Nobles

July 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm

McDonnell to Iowa for Romney

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In a trip that will certainly re-ignite his fading VP prospects, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell will travel to Iowa on Thursday to stump on behalf of Mitt Romney.

McDonnell will visit the Hawkeye state with fellow governor and VP prospect Bobby Jindal from Louisiana.

According to McDonnell’s office, the governor will hold a late morning event in Davenport and then visit a Victory Center in Coralville in the early afternoon. He will be with Jindal at the event in Coralville.

The governor will leave Richmond early Thursday morning by plane and return to Virginia that evening.

McDonnell will also serve as a surrogate for Romney Wednesday in a press event with local business leaders in Richmond, where they will continue the attack against President Barack Obama‘s “you didn’t build that” line from his speech in Roanoke.

Written by Ryan Nobles

July 24, 2012 at 8:50 pm

As Obama defends “build that” comments, McDonnell to go on the attack

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It was just a quick phrase, mentioned in President Barack Obama‘s stump speech in Roanoke early this month.

In case you missed it, here is what he said:

“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.  The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.” - President Barack Obama July 13, 2012 Roanoke, VA

The GOP has seized on the first part of that section of the speech, specifically “you didn’t build that”.  They have held conference calls, cut web ads and pushed out TV commericals accusing the president of being out of touch with small business owners.

The Obama team has argued that the president’s words were taken out of context and that the American people understand that businesses are built and are successful with help from the government. But despite the spin from Chicago, there must be concern that the attacks are having an impact. Tuesday the campaign released an ad responding to the attacks, featuring the president himself speaking to voters directly.

In the ad Obama says “Those ads taking my words about small business out of context; they’re flat out wrong.”

Here is a look at the full ad which is expected to run in a number of swing states:


But don’t expect republicans to just accept the president’s explanation. They will continue to turn up the heat with an event Wednesday featuring Virginia’s highest profile Romney surrogate, Gov. Bob McDonnell.

McDonnell will join with two Richmond small business owners to respond to what they call the president’s “insulting” claim. McDonnell is still considered a contender as Romney’s running mate, but his stock has fallen quite a bit by many who track the Veepstakes progress.

It is debatable how much resonance the Obama comment has had on the race here in Virginia, but there is no question the race is tightening up. The Real Clear Politics average of polls in Virginia has the race within two points, but with a slight edge to Obama.

Written by Ryan Nobles

July 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm

McDonnell faces difficult challenge on health care reform

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It is a tough spot for Governor Bob McDonnell. He is the governor of a state in the heat of a presidential battle and he wants to be loyal to his party’s candidate. But he also has to continue to govern. He is now leading a state during a time where his opportunity to build a legacy is becoming shorter and shorter. That difficulty became an even bigger challenge when the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. It is a law McDonnell has fought against, but one that has enorormous implications in the day to day operations of the Commonwealth.

If health care reform continues to move forward (and with the high court’s ruling that seems more and more likely) Virginia must begin to take action to prepare for the bigger parts of its implementation, which begins in earnest in 2014. The best example is the creation of health benefits exchange. It is a power states have to do for themselves, but if they wait, the feds will do it for them.

Republican governors like McDonnell are being careful to not start the implementation, for fear it may look like they have given up the fight on repealing the law. But democrats are now pouncing on the inaction, accusing the GOP of playing politics with people’s health care.

Here is my story from NBC12:

Now that the health care law has been deemed constitutional, states across America need to prepare for its continued implementation. But that’s already leading to battles here in Virginia.

The Affordable Care Act requires each state to create a health benefits exchange, where individuals and businesses could find competitive prices for health insurance.

It is supposed to be in place by 2013 and ready to operate in 2014.

In Virginia, both sides can’t agree on a way to make it happen, and politics could be to blame.

During the rocky 2012 Virginia legislative session, lawmakers, like Richmond Delegate Jennifer McClellan, presented legislation to create health benefits exchanges.

But things got a tad bit off track.

Social issues dominated the docket, pushing a debate on exchanges to the side. Meanwhile the health care law looked to be in constitutional danger, and a presidential election was heating up.

Now the high court has ruled, and McClellan is back, asking for a special session to start the process of the benefits exchange.

“We have lost precious time, and federal resources,” said McClellan. She believes it is time for the governor and Virginia republicans to accept the fact that health care reform is moving forward.

But while the Supreme Court has had its say, the presidential election is still in full swing and the Governor Bob McDonnell’s chosen candidate has promised “obamacare” won’t be around for long.

read the rest of the story on NBC12.com

Full statements from Del. McClellan and the governor’s office can be found after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ryan Nobles

June 29, 2012 at 10:53 pm

McDonnell to attend Romney retreat with VP hopefuls

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Governor Bob McDonnell will be among a select group of republican leaders asked to huddle with the Romney presidential campaign this weekend in Park City, Utah.

The Washington Post reported that the pow-wow will feature major donors and a group of potential running mates for Mitt Romney in the fall election.

The governor’s office confirmed Wednesday that he will be there and is expected to deliver an address at the event Saturday night.

McDonnell has been considered on the VP short list since before Romney even secured the nomination. He has already campaigned extensively for the presumptive GOP nominee. McDonnell, like most potential candidates for VP, has been very coy about his conversations with the Romney camp. He told WTOP radio last month that he was not being vetted. He later said that he wouldn’t talk about the vetting process in specifics.

Overall, a difficult legislative session that forced the governor into the middle of several controversial debates, has hurt his stock on the VP short list. However he remains a popular governor in one of the most competitive swing states in America.

His invitation to this exclusive event would indicate that he is still very much in the running.

Written by Ryan Nobles

June 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm

McDonnell plays it cool on Veepstakes

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It is, without a doubt, the one issue that brings Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell the most attention. But when asked, McDonnell makes it seem that, being a potential running mate for Mitt Romney, is the furthest thing from his mind.

His focus, he will tell you, is “governing”. Wrapping up the state budget process and overseeing whatever particular initiative his office is taking on. On Wednesday it was a new program that will offer ID cards to Virginia veterans.

Even politically, McDonnell claims that being the nominee for Vice President is low on his list of priorities. He often sites his work in 13 gubernatorial races as Chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association and acting as a surrogate for Romney. He believes that work is more important than the frequent attention he receives as a potential VP nominee.

“I’m not asking for it, I’m not expecting it, I’m not sitting around waiting for the phone to ring,” McDonnell said.  “I will do what I can to help him (Romney).”

McDonnell told WTOP radio earlier in the week that he has not been asked to submit any information for what is usually a rigorous vetting process. The comment set off a series of national speculation that he was out of the running.  McDonnell acted today as if that was no big deal.

“I don’t think it means anything,” he said. “I told Mitt Romney that I will help him in any way that I can.”

There are reports that the Romney campaign has begun the vetting process, but not one potential candidate has confirmed that they are being investigated.

McDonnell seems to not care either way.

But it’s not just what McDonnell says when it comes to the Veepstakes, it is also the way he acts. Both tell you that he is working hard to play it cool, while at the same time doing everything he can to position himself to be picked.

Wednesday during his event honoring Veterans, McDonnell didn’t get annoyed with questions about his Vice Presidential prospects, but he also didn’t just reject them outright. He stuck to his typical talking points (“I’m not asking for it, I’m not expecting it” is his go-to line) while touting his work building a foundation for a grass-roots operation for Romney team.  It could be a way to show that he is ready to deliver the state come November.

He also is playing both sides of this tight rope in his work as governor. McDonnell, who is in the twilight of his governorship, has by no means decided to coast. He fought vigorously for his priorities in the state budget and continues to offer new initiatives and give every indication that he plans to see his legacy through. At the same time he has embarked on a statewide tour highlighting his administrations accomplishments and his campaign arm bought a significant amount of television time to tout his work in a slick 30 second ad. This, despite the fact that he isn’t running for anything.

Democrats have claimed that McDonnell made both moves to re-boost his popularity to make him a more attractive VP pick.  They dubbed his tour of the Commonwealth as his “pick me tour”.  McDonnell’s statewide popularity and national profile took a hit after a brutal legislative session that put him in the middle of controversial abortion and gun control legislation.

So after all of this, just where does McDonnell stand? There is no doubt that he has slipped a bit in the rankings. Prior to the lumps taken in the legislative session, McDonnell was regularly considered to be in the top 5 of most speculative polls, now he is considered to be somewhere around the top 10 and holding.  Being picked as a VP nominee requires an incredible amount of good fortune together all at once, most of which is outside of your control. McDonnell really has no choice but to just play it cool. There isn’t much else he can do.

That doesn’t mean he is out of the running. Virginia remains one of, if not the most, competitive state in election. His approval rating, despite dropping, remains among the highest in his state of potential VP picks.  While big names pop up and gain momentum from time to time, McDonnell has to hope he can remain consistently in the mix and when the time comes to make a final choice, that his attributes fit what Romney needs to get him over the top.

Until then, he will do what the campaign needs and just remain “cool”.


An extended clip from McDonnell’s remarks on the VP search can be seen below:


Written by Ryan Nobles

May 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm

McDonnell signs voter ID bill into law

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

It is the last of a string of controversial measures in the explosive 2012 Virginia General Assembly and today Governor Bob McDonnell is ready to put it behind him.  The Governor signed into law a measure that will tighten the requirements to prove your identification when you cast a ballot in an election in Virginia.

Currently in Virginia, if you are registered but show up the polls without any ID, you are able to cast your ballot, but sign a sworn statement that you are who you say you are. The vote counts, but you could be charged with fraud after the fact if you vote under someone else’s name.

Republicans have long criticized the practice as being an easy opportunity for voter fraud.  This new measure would still allow you to cast a ballot without an ID, but that ballot would only be provisional and would not count until you can produce one of the acceptable forms of ID.

Democrats angrily fought the measure and claimed that it was a GOP effort to suppress voters. In particular, voters who tend to vote for democrats, including minorities, the elderly and the poor.

The Virginia proposal was one of many passed in state legislatures around the country, but the Commonwealth’s bill did not go as far as some which forced voters to produce a photo ID at the polls. In fact, while the Virginia bill tightened the requirements at the polls, it actually expanded what you could show to prove your identity.  Currently a Virginia Voter ID card, a driver’s licence, Social Security card, government-issued ID or a photo ID from your place of employment are all accepted. The new law would also allow utility bills, paychecks, bank statements, government checks or a current Virginia college ID.

In an effort to make sure everyone who wants to vote can, McDonnell is issuing an Executive Order requiring the Board of Elections to send new voter ID cards to every single registered voter in Virginia.  This provision is addition to the current bill, which will now become law.

The liberal group “ProgressVA” was not impressed with McDonnell’s efforts to soften the impact of the new restrictions. They called the move a waste of taxpayer funds.

“This legislation and the accompanying executive order are an expensive fix to a nonexistent problem,” said Anna Scholl ProgressVA’s Executive Director  “We’ve never solved anything in this country with less democracy and we shouldn’t start now.”

The full statement from the Governor’s office and ProgressVA’s response can be found after the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ryan Nobles

May 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Romney plans big Virginia swing around Obama launch event

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will appear at four different events in Virginia over the next two weeks. The Romney swing represents the first significant amount of time the republican has spent in the Commonwealth since taking control of the GOP nomination for president.  It also comes around the same time as President Barack Obama plans a major event at VCU in Richmond to formally launch his 2012 campaign.

Romney will appear by himself at an event in Chantilly Wednesday morning and then a fundraiser with Governor Bob McDonnell that evening in Northern Virginia. McDonnell will then join Romney at an event at a business in Portsmouth Thursday afternoon. Finally Romney will return to Virginia next Saturday May 12th to serve as the commencement speaker at Liberty University in Lynchburg.  First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver the commencement address at Virginia Tech the day before Romney’s Liberty event on Friday May 11th.

The dual focus on Virginia comes as a new poll released by the left leaning Public Policy Polling shows Obama holding a 7 point lead in the Old Dominion. This poll follows two surveys from other services that show Romney leading by a smaller margin. The Real Clear Politics polling average gives the president a 2.5 point lead.

The visit will also increase the speculation about Governor McDonnell as a possible running mate to Romney. McDonnell has emerged as a top surrogate for the new presumptive nominee and this will be our first opportunity to see the two in what could be a ticket leading into the fall.

We will have complete coverage of th Romney Virginia swing this week on Decision Virginia and NBC12.


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