McDonnell downplays potential run for national office
Before Bob McDonnell was even elected Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the questions started coming about the potential that a national campaign could be in his future. The Republican came at the right time to move into the spotlight. The GOP was, and for the most part still is, in search of a leading voice to carry the mantle of the right. A mantle that has struggled mightily since about half-way through the second term of George W. Bush.
McDonnell brushes off the talk that his name will continue to pop up as a candidate for national office. He often says that he and the newly elected Governor in New Jersey, Chris Christie were the only ones running for office in 2009, thus thrusting them front and center. McDonnell said that his overwhelming victory will soon fade into the distance as more than 30 different states will elect governors in 2010. In addition Republicans claim they are going to make a serious push to take back Congress. Major GOP wins in 2010, could mean McDonnell will be among just a large group victorious candidates fighting for the limelight.
But regardless of what could take place, McDonnell is already in the back of the minds of pundits and prognosticators in perpetual Presidential campaign mode. That means even, innocent subtle moves that he makes as Governor could be interpreted as an effort to make himself a more attractive candidate for the White House.
McDonnell told me, he isn’t even thinking about that.
“That is for other people to talk about,” The Governor-elect said. ” I am completely disinterested right now in any other office, other than being Governor.” He went on to say that focusing on higher office could leave him in a position, where his work in Richmond could be compromised. “I have served with 5 or 6 governors, you don’t get off to a good start you are lame duck real quickly, especially with one term,” he said.
But despite rejecting the notion that he is thinking about running for President or Vice President, McDonnell does not suggest that his political life will end when his term as Governor does. However, he believes that if he isn’t a successful Governor, nothing else will matter. “Until you have achieved something as Governor,” The Republican said, “the rest is just people concocting something about your stature because you have won an election.”
But what about after you accomplished something?
“I’m just worried about Governing Virginia and If I do that well, maybe there will be opportunities for me down the road. But I have to stay laser focus as to what is going on in Virginia.”
A laser focus, that over the next four years could propel him to even greater heights.
McDonnell’s extended remarks from our one on one interview can be seen below: