McDonnell: 'They beat us on the ground'
November 7th, 2012
11:06 AM ET
2 years ago

McDonnell: 'They beat us on the ground'

(CNN) – After weeks of touting a robust army of foot soldiers charging ahead with GOP get-out-the-vote efforts, Virginia governor and a top surrogate for the Republican ticket Bob McDonnell conceded that President Barack Obama's campaign trumped Republicans on the ground game.

CNN projected that Obama would win re-election late Tuesday night, besting Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the swing state of Virginia by three points. With 97% of precincts ballots in, Obama pulled ahead – 51% to Romney's 48%.

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McDonnell said last night was "tough" for Republicans on CNN's "Starting Point" Wednesday.

"They beat us on the ground," said McDonnell. "I thought we'd win close; we lost close. Half the margin of 2008, but they did a good job."

While Romney's campaign organized a ground game better than Sen. John McCain’s in 2008, Obama's ground game had years to formulate, beginning with his successful presidential bid over four years ago. Then, the Illinois Sen. Obama won Virginia by six points over McCain.

While Ohio tipped the president over the 270 electoral vote threshold needed for re-election, it was Virginia that propelled him to a decisive lead, 303 electoral votes to Romney's 203.

"Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would have been good leaders, but the president, in a poor economy, did a very good job articulating his message and having a very good ground game," he said.

Republicans were also defeated in the race for a U.S. Senate seat. In a high-profile, expensive contest lasting over a year, GOP contender George Allen conceded to Democrat Tim Kaine on Tuesday night. At the time of Allen's concession speech, Kaine was ahead of Allen 51% to 49% – with 76% reporting.

Republicans need to do better on a national level, McDonnell said, also adding that he had spoken with Allen following his defeat.

Specific to the Old Dominion, McDonnell, who appeared on CNN earlier Election Day, said that Romney needed to do well in the Washington D.C. Beltway area – Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William counties - in order to take the state. Obama bested Romney in all three of those counties by no less than five points this time around, just as he did in the 2008 election.

The light at the end of the tunnel for Virginia's GOP? The congressional races.

"We won eight out of the 11 congressional races in Virginia, so at the more local level Republicans did very well," said McDonnell, though again noting the party's necessity to polish their image among independents in the Beltway counties.

"We're losing the exchange as you see up there in Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun so we've got to do a better job in explaining to people why the conservative view of America is better for them and their pocket books."

House Speaker John Boehner will hold control of the lower chamber with a Republican majority while the Senate will stay in the hands of the Democrats and the White House under Obama.


Filed under: 2012 • Virginia
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    We spanked Willard in Virginia. Alot of that has to do with YOU Gov. Ultrasound. I've said it before and I'll continue to say it: Virginia is Obama Country!!

    November 7, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Sad. Republicans don't get it. They were not beat on the ground. Stereotypical conservative response, "It's a messaging problem. Our message didn't reach enough people." Too stubborn to realize that people DID hear the message.

    The beating came from the minds and hearts of the American people.

    November 7, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  3. TheVoice2

    Napoleon once said "A man that will say anything, will do anything", and that is what people feared about Romney. It's time for the GOP to cooperate with our President or 2014 will be a massacre.

    November 7, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F

    The GOP was beaten with their own invasive procedures.

    November 7, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. Data Driven

    But I thought RMoney was going to win VA because - bayonets! Lol! Your tears are an excellent garnish for my omelet this morning, Governor Hole Probe.

    November 7, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  6. rs

    Yes, the Democratic ground game was potent- but YOU lost on policy.

    November 7, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  7. MCJNY

    The republicans never admit mistakes. It's always this kind of nonsense. They destroyed a great opportunity to show american that they were smarter than the democrats. But all they produced was extended gridlock hoping that racial animus would shield them from america noticing that they were working to keep this country down until 2012. Well, we noticed and we weren't happy. Get on board with helping the president continue the recovery or face be voted out. Easily voted out.

    November 7, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. Sam

    McDonnell still don't get it. Republicans are so hard headed for their politics, They forget why they got elected.McDonnell will be defeat his next election.

    November 7, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. Sniffit

    "TRENDING: Gingrich: 'I was wrong'"

    "McDonnell: 'They beat us on the ground'"

    Guess which words and attitude between those two is going to go furthest in helping us all get back to a clean slate and honest, good faith efforts to govern through compromise: conciliatory recognition of having done wrong OR excuses and rationalizations? Guess. Pride goeth before the fall.

    Please, recognize just how crazy a world we now live in that I find myself saying the following: "for crying out freekin loud, GOPers, follow Netwered's example for once." Let it all go and let the country start healing. I promise, we will thank you for it.

    November 7, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. Sorensen

    McDonnell still does not understand anything. The GOP was humiliated on all counts. mc Donnell, one of the many
    reasons for the defeat, should go away and think about forced ultrasound, etc. He will get kicked out of politics very soon.

    November 7, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  11. vic , nashville ,tn

    I will blame ultra sound Mr.McDonnell

    November 7, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. Anonymous

    "We're losing the exchange as you see up there in Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun so we've got to do a better job in explaining to people why the conservative view of America is better for them and their pocket books."

    Right there is the problem – the Republicans think everyone is as selfish as they are. It's not all about money – I personally would have done better financially with Rmoney as president, but I care more about the health of the whole country than my personal finances. Same for the "better for you" however it is phrased. Just because some action (or inaction) will benefit me personally in some way does not mean it is best for the country as a whole.

    This is the basic difference between Republicans and Democrats in the current world – and until everyone cares more about the whole than about themselves at least on the high levels, we're not going to heal. Fortunately more Americans care more about each other than about themselves and that's how President Obama won re-election.

    November 7, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. Negress

    “Our No. 1 priority is to make this president a one-term president,” says Mitch McConnell. Epic Fail.

    November 7, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. mesa mick

    No...The ground game didn't beat you and your kind Gov. Ultrasound...It was you and your party's backwards looking, 19th century thinking and acting on womens reproductive health care, evangelical religion, non-white voter suppression and general anti-middle and working class sick, twisted "family values"...

    November 7, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  15. Dave

    If John Boehner fails to lead in the House and get some compromise his political career is over. The Tea Party extremism has to end. Right wing views are out of touch.

    November 7, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. Denise

    WOW ...... Looks like that 47% that they LOVE to exclude sent them running home last night!! The comments spoke to the foundation of that party and the reasoning that they tried to throw out to "clean" the statement up was further insulting. CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT; I HAVE BEEN WORKING SINCE I WAS 15 AND TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY AND ALL OF MY DECISIONS. I AM LIVING A VERY FULL AND HAPPY LIFE (THANK GOD). GODS WILL WHEN I RETIRE I EXPECT TO RECEIVE ANY AND ALL BENEFITS FROM A SYSTEM THAT I HAVE BEEN GIVING TO SINCE MY FIRST PAY CHECK.........

    November 7, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. Buckeye

    rs

    Yes, the Democratic ground game was potent- but YOU lost on policy.
    ----------------------------–
    Spot on! Until they get that clear, they will continue to lose national elections.

    November 7, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  18. Mitt Romney

    Republicans weren't beat on the ground. They were beat in that space from the neck up.

    November 7, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. Romney is NOT My Hero

    @Wire Palladin, S. F – The GOP was beaten with their own invasive procedures.
    ------------------------------------

    Well played!!! LOL

    November 7, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    "We're losing the exchange as you see up there in Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun so we've got to do a better job in explaining to people why the conservative view of America is better for them and their pocket books."
    ---------------
    Typical right wing knee jerk reaction.
    "It's a messaging problem. We are not getting our message out far enough."

    November 7, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. MaryM

    McDonnell, you and your repubs friends lost because of your faciantion with the female uterus. That is why you are called Gov Ultrasound.
    You and your repubs friends have moved way too far to the right for any sane American.
    Oh and BTW, the Koch Bros and Adelson want their millions of $$$ back.

    November 7, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. PeterD

    Well America's Journey towards becoming a Complete Socialist Country by 2016 have just begun FORWARD. All on Board !!!!!!!!!!! EU LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 7, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    And we'll beat you in th eair and in the sea too....until the learnin' done been beaten into you. Wake up, GOPers. It's dawn in Amurika and you don't want to miss the bus. You're either on it or under it. Choose.

    November 7, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. Christy P in Santa Cruz

    Data Driven – But I thought RMoney was going to win VA because – bayonets! Lol! Your tears are an excellent garnish for my omelet this morning, Governor Hole Probe.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Denial much Governor Bob 'Vaginal Probe' McDonnell? This guy is TOAST come 2014. I just hope Virginians can hold on that long.

    November 7, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. MaryM

    correction Fascination

    November 7, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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