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Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

Posts Tagged ‘Mitt Romney

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

Buying A Voice: Obama airs 2 minute attack ad

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It aired about a week ago during the NBC12 6pm newscast, a unique ad for a candidate for president. The Barack Obama re-election campaign purchased a two-minute block of time to air a mini-documentary attack Mitt Romney‘s business record.

As campaign ad’s go, this came at a pretty small cost. Obama for America spent only $83 thousand nationwide.

But the way it was presented, and the charges it levels, has led to headaches for both sides.

Here is the ad, in its entirety:

The two-minute ad only aired once on NBC12 and other stations in selectively picked cities. It attacks Romney’s old investment firm Bain Capital.

“Bain capital walked away with a lot of money that they made off of this plant,” says a former worker recruited by the Obama campaign to talk about their experience with the Bain takeover.

The video has been watched close to a half a million times on the internet, and according to Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter, airing it only once on t-v was enough to get the point across.

“It was a way for us to get some of the facts out there that he’s not going to tell you,” said Cutter.

But the day the ad debuted, a former Obama economic adviser argued on MSNBC that Bain and Romney played didn’t do anything wrong.

‘This is part of capitalism, this is part of life,” said Stephen Rattner. “I don’t think there’s anything Bain Capital did that they need to be embarrassed about.'”

Then Sunday on Meet the Press, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Obama supporter, cautioned the campaign to tread lightly on attacking private equity.

“They’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses. And this to me, I’m very uncomfortable with,” Booker said.  Booker later softened his comments, and Cutter argues that Mitt Romney is not running to be the country’s investment banker, and if he were it would be all about him.

“It wasn’t about job creation, it wasn’t about long-term economic growth,” Cuter said. “It was about wealth creation and he was pretty good at it.”

The question, is that record good for the average voter?


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Written by Ryan Nobles

May 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Obama campaign attempts to drag Romney into Thorne-Begland controversy

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Stephanie Cutter is an important player in the Obama for America campaign infrastructure. As Deputy Campaign Manager, there is only one staff member higher on the organizational chart. As a regular surrogate for the campaign she regularly drives the discussion in frequent television and media appearances.

Cutter was on a local satellite tour Wednesday to talk about the campaign’s two-minute ad that attacks their opponent Mitt Romney‘s career at Bain Capital, a private equity firm. NBC12 was one of the stations where the ad aired, and we talked to Cutter about its impact on the election. Most of the interview as about the economy, but it was a general question about the shift back to the economy after a week talking about social issues where Cutter took the opportunity to wade into a very local issue. The failed nomination of Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland as District Judge.

Thorne- Begland is openly gay and made a very prominent stand against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” during his time in the Military.  His activism prompted conservative members of the Virginia House of Delegates to prevent his nomination from going forward. Cutter knew all about the fight and was not afraid to attack the GOP lead Virginia House of Delegates.

“I think that when things like this happen in this country and specifically Virginia, it turns people off,” Cutter said.   “The man is overly qualified to be a judge and this is a real leadership moment for some people in Virginia.”

While the Thorne-Begland controversy has grown well outside Richmond to media reports in numerous national outlets, the battle is over a relatively low-level judgeship. One primarily responsible for traffic tickets and vandalism. Important, no doubt, but more Judge Harry Stone, than Judge Thurgood Marshall. The basis of the battle, the fight over gay rights was enough for Cutter to call out the republican candidate for president of the United States.

“I think that it is an opportunity for Mitt Romney to stand up and say what the legislature did is just plain wrong,” she said. “I don’t know if he will show that type of leadership, he hasn’t so far.  

The Romney campaign had no interest in wading into this hyper-local issue that could put them at odds with republicans in Virginia.

“This is yet another example of how President Obama and his campaign would rather talk about anything other than his failed economic record,” said Curt Cashour, a Romney campaign spokesman.

The Romney Team did not specifically address the Thorne-Begland nomination at all. They chose not to support or condemn the House of Delegates move. Instead they tried to put the focus back on the Obama economic record.

“Obama’s presidency just hasn’t lived up to the promise of his 2008 campaign, and after more than three years in office, Americans are still suffering through one of the worst job markets in history,” Cashour said.

Meanwhile the battle over what is normally an easy nomination appears over. Andy Jenks today ran down all 36 members of the House of Delegates who didn’t vote to see how they would’ve voted, and why they decided to leave town. There appears to be no momentum to re-nominate Thorne- Begland who has gone back to his job as a prosecutor in the Richmond Commonwealths Attorney’s Office.

But while the battle is over, it appears the remnants of the is fight will continue on well into November.

You can see extended clips from Cutter’s remarks below:

Written by Ryan Nobles

May 16, 2012 at 10:53 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.

McDonnell chides Obama on campaign “kickoff”

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Governor Bob McDonnell is a prominent Mitt Romney supporter so it is not a surprise that he doesn’t share the same enthusiasm about Barack Obama‘s upcoming visit to Virginia as the wide-eyed Obama volunteers who we featured Wednesday night.

But that doesn’t mean he can’t appreciate the significance of the Obama campaign picking Richmond as one of two locations to kickoff off the president’s re-election bid.

“We are going to see plenty of the candidates, that’s good,” McDonnell said. “Most people ignore Virginia because they think it is going one way or the other. But this is going to be a real competitive race.”

But McDonnell stops short of buying into the notion that Saturday May, 5th is really the start of the Obama campaign.

“Well he’s been campaigning for the last two years so it’s really not the kickoff to the campaign,” he said.

The republicans seem intent to remind everyone that the president has been spending a lot of time in swing states. Events that may not have been campaign events, but ones that played to audiences that will play a key role in his re-election. House Speaker John Boehner was among those who said the White House was campaigning on the taxpayer’s dime. The Speaker even called on the Obama campaign to reimburse the federal government for the president’s recent trip to college campuses to drum up support for an extension on lower student loan rates.

The Obama campaign deflected the criticism and argued that the president’s travel is not out of the ordinary for a Commander-in-Chief. Even one seeking reelection.

McDonnell said regardless of how many times Obama comes to Virginia it can’t change what he views as policies that have not worked.

“No matter what the president may say that doesn’t change the fact that we are $16 trillion dollars in debt and unemployment is at 8.3%.”

Expect McDonnell to be front and center as a chief surrogate for the Romney campaign, there to rebut the president’s speech and offer the alternative perspective.

See an extended clip from Governor McDonnell’s remarks below:



Written by Ryan Nobles

April 26, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Obama goes after Romney in TV ad airing in Virginia

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We aren’t quite to the general election yet, but don’t tell that to the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama.



For the first time in the 2012 election, the Obama campaign specifically mentioned a potential opponent in a television ad. The ad, which is in response to another ad attacking the president by a third-party group, defends the president’s record on energy. They point out that domestic energy production has gone up under the president’s leadership and the ad accuses Mitt Romney of defending “big oil”.

The Romney campaign said in a statement that the president is just hoping to deflect his poor handling of rising gas prices.

But while Romney and Obama begin to engage, the republicans have yet to settle on a nominee. Romney is the clear front-runner and it is certainly his nomination to lose, but Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have yet to concede anything. In fact Tuesday brings with it, another round of primaries. They are contests that could result in gains for Romney, but may not be enough for the former Massachusetts governor to close the deal.

Here in Virginia though, the general election is already underway in earnest. And we are still more than 200 days away from voters going to the polls.

**The ad from the American Energy Alliance can be seen below:



Written by Ryan Nobles

April 2, 2012 at 10:28 pm