Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell appeared in the opening segment of “Face the Nation” yesterday with former Gov. Ted Strickland, D-Ohio, former Gov. Ed Rendell, D-Penn., and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.
McDonnell probably spoke the most of any of those four, and host Bob Schieffer led with a question to him.
Schieffer’s lead remarks on the show helped underscore why McDonnell was there and why Virginia is so important in the national election:
“it’s coming down to eleven states that are now basically ground zero for the candidates; Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. The nation is so polarized now that the undecided votes in these states represent about five percent and that is consistent with the rest of the country. Thirty-nine states lean so heavily to one candidate or another, both candidates are focusing their efforts now on those eleven states.”
McDonnell said he thinks the race in Virginia is a “dead heat” right now, but the Republican governor predicted that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will ultimately win because he’s got a better plan for the economy.
Schieffer asked about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s allegation that Romney may have had some years where he paid no taxes, since he’s declined to release returns for more than the last two years. McDonnell called that “a reckless and slanderous charge.”
He added, “You know, Bob, people don’t care about Mitt Romney’s tax returns. They care about their own tax returns and the taxes that are going to be increased under President Barack Obama where nearly a million small business people are getting a whopping tax increase. That’s the issue in this race. This is a more “change the situation,” “hide the ball,” where they don’t want to focus on jobs and the economy and spending and debt and deficit and energy because their record is so bad, and, of course, they’re trying to change the subject to tax returns? You know what we know about his returns. He has paid his taxes. He’s a very generous man, and he’s made a lot of money because he’s been successful. Why don’t we start talking about the things that are important that people are going to vote about and that’s jobs and spending.”
Later, Schieffer asked McDonnell whether he was being vetted as a possible vice-presidential candidate to run with Romney.
McDonnell’s response: “You know I’m not talking about it. That’s up to Mitt Romney. He’s going to make that announcement soon. But I’ll tell you what vice presidents don’t win elections. Presidents and their candidates and their vision do; and Mitt Romney’s vision for the middle class that he outlined this week on jobs and deficit reduction and small business promotion and energy is the way to go.”
After the fold, though, you can also read Schieffer’s end-of-the-first-half-hour monologue about what it’s like to suddenly live in a battleground state. Those of you who are already sick of the unrelenting TV ads may appreciate his comments.
Here’s what Schieffer said:
“Washington is generally ignored by the presidential candidates but those of us who live here have discovered there was an upside to that. We didn’t have to see and hear all those TV ads that clog the screens in the battleground states. Well, our good luck finally ran out. Since Virginia has become a key battleground, candidates have to advertise on Washington TV to reach voters in Northern Virginia. So, battlegrounds states, now we can truly feel your pain. No wonder you look shell-shocked like someone who had his head stuck in a bucket, while someone else pounded on it with a shovel. We’re bombarded by these things every waking moment, and it doesn’t stop there. I’ve seen so many, I dreamed about one the other night. I’ve seen so many, I can’t remember who said what about who but make no mistake–these campaign commercials make a deeper impression on us and reach more of us than we may realize. This was told to me as true. A campaign operative saw the President in an ad and asked his four-year-old son, “Who is that?” “That’s Barack Obama,” said the child. And “What does he do?” said the father. Without missing a beat the four-year-old replied, “He approves this message.”"