September 21st, 2009
11:38 AM ET
5 years ago

President Obama called Wilder about Virginia governor's race

President Obama urged former Democratic governor Doug Wilder to make an endorsement in this year's Virginia governor's race.
President Obama urged former Democratic governor Doug Wilder to make an endorsement in this year's Virginia governor's race.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama called former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder about making an endorsement in the state’s closely watched governor’s race, Wilder confirmed to CNN on Monday.

Wilder wouldn’t reveal what exactly was discussed on the call, which occurred “two or three weeks ago.” But he said of the President: “Obviously he was interested in making sure certain Democrats win.”

“It was a good talk, it was a nice talk,” he said. “It’s always good to talk to the president.”

Wilder, a Democrat who became the nation’s first African-American governor in 1990, campaigned actively for Obama in Virginia during last year’s presidential race.

But Wilder – who also served as mayor of Richmond from 2004 to 2008 - has been reluctant to endorse the Democrat in this year's governor's race, state Sen. Creigh Deeds, and has criticized Deeds for not defining himself in the campaign. At the same time, Wilder has spoken warmly about Deeds’ Republican rival, Bob McDonnell, sparking chatter that he might buck his own party and endorse McDonnell.

The White House dispatched a top political aide to meet with Wilder about the race in July, he told Politico at the time, but the former governor said he wasn’t ready to make an endorsement.

However, Wilder said Monday he plans to meet with Deeds either today or Tuesday, and will then make a statement “as to what the results are.”

The Deeds campaign has said they would welcome Wilder’s support, but his advisers have been careful to remind reporters about the former governor’s unpredictable nature.

“Anyone that has ever followed governor Wilder knows that the only person who knows what governor Wilder is going to do is governor Wilder,” Deeds adviser Mo Elleithee said earlier this month.

The phone call was first reported by The Washington Times.


Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Creigh Deeds • President Obama • Virginia
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. C in Virginia

    Presidents get involved with local politics, they all have – deal with it. Living in Richmond, VA, I can tell you that this has little to do with Obama and the Democrats and more to do with Wilder wanting to be the center of attention as he always has.

    September 21, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. stormerF

    Sounds like Wilder has seen the writting on the wall,Saying he may endorse a Republican,instead of a Socilaistic Obama Sheeple.

    September 21, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. Dar

    Please get back to work, BO acts like a kid in a candy shop with an endless supply of kool aid to wash it down with.

    September 21, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. Jane/Seattle

    YUK on Politics! Until we stop this game of run-around roulette, we will just keep going down, down, down! Get a grip and see that we are doomed IF WE ALL do not change how we are living! Politics is a LOWER form of living in an Un-Enlightened Way! May we all just figure this out soon! Our Global Children are depending on us. Peace :-)

    September 21, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. victim of republican greed

    Didn't "W" have a country to ruin?

    September 21, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. Christian

    The tinny shrill of gloating by ...? The problems this country faces are both systemic and systematic – neither an easy fix – EVERYONE is responsible and it is intellectually disingenuous to hold a particular political party more culpable than another. The fact is the world can not support the "American Dream" nor can an American. It is a new day in Dodge and we did not get hear overnight and it will not be solved overnight. It is going to cost and it is going to hurt for a very long time. But humans have a very short memory and to quote Captain Butler to his beloved Scarlett – "If you had to do it all over my dear, you'd do no different." Deregulation favors the predators and though seemingly synonymous with Free Market economics one should never underestimate the avarice of such predators and as such they need to be regulated. We can surmount this but will we collectively learn this or do we need a universal governor to continually jar the memory.

    September 21, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
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