McDonnell opens the door to VP run
To his credit, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell goes out of his way to dismiss his potential as a candidate for national office. I should know, I ask him about it all the time. I asked him before he got elected governor, right before he was inaugurated and of course just a few weeks ago after the State of the Commonwealth.
Generally, McDonnell works hard to keep his focus on being Governor of Virginia, but there is enough evidence that he is keeping his options open. In the past, stories have leaked about the national network of connections that he has established and he has not been afraid to say he’d consider joining a national ticket given the right circumstances.
Last week, I sat down with the Governor for a lengthy conversation in response to my interview with President Barack Obama. From my perspective, McDonnell made the most convincing move toward positioning himself as a national candidate as he ever has before.
Not only did McDonnell find time to dine with Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty in the past two weeks, an almost certain candidate for president, he also minced no words in his criticism of the Obama administration. His actions demonstrate his wares as a possible defender or attacker if he was tapped to be the nominee.
“This budget doesn’t do much,” McDonnell said of the proposed Obama spending plan. “There is a real paltry amount of savings compared to the real crisis we are in in this country.”
And it wasn’t just the budget McDonnell went after. He also was critical of Obama’s leadership.
“The President had a real opportunity to lead on this issue, make the tough choices and he blew it,” said McDonnell.
The Governor pointed to the Obama administration’s debt reduction commission that suggested trillions of dollars in cuts, that for the most part, the White House did not adopt.
McDonnell believes a Republican leader would do a better job and said he would be willing to serve if the right person earned the nomination.
I asked: “What if the party’s nominee.. came to you and said ‘for the betterment of your party and your country, I need you to serve as my running mate.’ Wouldn’t that be a difficult thing for you to turn down?”
To which McDonnell replied simply, “Probably”.
He then reiterated his consistent position that he is focused on being Governor and is not looking to jump on a national ticket.
It seems clear though, McDonnell will be ready to jump, if the call is made.
The extended clip from our conversation can be found below.