February 16th, 2010
12:12 PM ET
13 years ago

Democrats knock McDonnell for taking stimulus cash

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/16/art.mcdonnell.file.gi.jpg caption="Gov. Bob McDonnell is the latest target of the DNC."]Washington (CNN) - Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is the latest target of national Democrats in their ongoing crusade against Republicans they accuse of stimulus hypocrisy.

McDonnell's office announced Monday that Virginia will receive a combined $24 million in federal funds over the next four years to develop health care information technology and implement electronic medical records. The funds come straight from a nearly $1 billion pot of health care money made available to states by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

McDonnell, a up-and-coming Republican who was sworn into office last month, thanked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for approving the money and said the cash is "critical" in helping Virginia upgrade its health care infrastructure.

"The federal funding awarded to Virginia will allow us to develop an information technology system that will safeguard our ability to track health records and provide our physicians with the technological tools they need to provide the highest quality service possible," McDonnell said in a statement.

But that high praise reeks of hypocrisy, according to the Democratic National Committee. During his campaign for the governorship last year, McDonnell said the stimulus bill would create crushing long-term debt. He also made an issue early in the race of opposing $125 million in unemployment benefits made available to Virginia by the Recovery Act.

DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan, who has also blasted Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a possible 2012 GOP presidential contender, for lumping stimulus money into his new budget, said McDonnell's acceptance of the federal money is "part of a pattern of gross hypocrisy which has irrevocably tainted Republican credibility on the stimulus and spending. "

"The truth is, as independent observers have confirmed, the stimulus has provided millions of jobs for Americans and as Gov. McDonnell concedes made 'critical' investments in our communities. Unfortunately, Republicans would rather play dishonest political games than admit they opposed something that is helping our economy because Democrats supported it," Sevugan said in an e-mail.

McDonnell's office countered by pointing out that while the governor criticized elements of the stimulus package during his campaign, he also told the Washington Post last February that he would accept stimulus money because the money comes from Virginia taxpayers.

Tucker Martin, a spokesman for the governor, said the health IT grants accepted Monday were applied for by the previous governor, Democrat Tim Kaine.

"At least we know the DNC won't let little things like facts get in their way," Martin told CNN in an e-mail.

Over the past week, Democrats have criticized a raft of GOP officeholders after news reports revealed that several congressional Republicans who voted against the Recovery Act ultimately took credit for stimulus-funded projects in their districts. Among the more prominent Republicans who voted against the bill but sought stimulus cash: Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, Utah Sen. Bob Bennett, Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander and South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson.

Filed under: Bob McDonnell • DNC
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Pragmatic

    Watch as McDonnell, the next "great white hope" of the GOP breaks promise after promise ... today's news was that before elected, he spoke against "gerrymandering" – and now is silent as VA redraws their districts to favor the GOP. Take the money, use it wisely and don't insult the rest of us as you whine about "big government handouts" . It's not the money – its the stink of hypocrisy!

    February 16, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    I came to the conclusion years ago, that both of the Major parties are at fault. Why should only Democrats and Republicans they have a monopoly on the people's representation?
    Excuse me! What is the difference between these two parties? All I know is both have had a monopoly on my freedom for my entire lifetime (53 YRS), and year after year I work and struggle and get no where. Every year the taxes and fees to feed the massive Government go up and the value of the Dollar goes down.
    How can you folks continue to vote for these people who refuse to represent you? How can you vote for these two parties who have done nothing to your right for individual Liberty?

    February 16, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. ted

    Ah yes the Party of NO AKA The Grand Obstructionist Party. They are against everything Obama wants to do to help the country. They all voted against the stimulus, attacking it as a porkulus bill, but THEY ALL HAVE THEIR GREEDY GREASY HANDS OUT FOR THE MONEY.

    The question is – Why exactly were they against it before they were for it?

    I am sick and tired of Repukelicans. I hope they run Palin as their candidate in 2012 so that Obama can kick their butts again.

    February 16, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. Too True For You

    Gotta love the half-hearted attempts at conservative defense. Uh, it was the democrat governer who applied for it!!! Or Mike in MN trotting out (again) the imaginary republican stimulus alternative that really boiled down to nothing other than more tax cuts for the wealthy. Or Henry Miller, Libertarian trotting out that hoary old sideshow about how people should only be taxed for what they agree with, aka the libertarian promised land of vountary taxation.
    Nice try at putting lipstick on a pig. Occams razor says its real simple: if it looks, smells, and behaves like hypocrisy, well, guess what? It's hypocrisy.
    Are the democrats without sin? No way. But is this(more) republican hypocrisy? As the number on favorite republican would say: "You betcha!"

    February 16, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. I Can't Stand It

    So let me get this straight. The government confiscates (taxes) money from Virginians to pay for their stimulus scheme. But Virginians are bad for wanting to get their share of it back. Or more specifically, Republicans are bad because they don't want their constituents robbed. You Kool-Aid drinkers need to get a clue, try watching Fox for a couple of weeks and get some perspective.

    February 16, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. jfs Memhis, Tn

    This guy is a joke. He is worse than Palin, Polosi ,or Ried. Sorry Virginia Voters "You Have Been" for your votes. This guy hasn't even been in office two months!!! Hope you see what a quick thoughtless vote can be.

    February 16, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. bob the builder

    as much as an honest democrat is an oxymoron.

    February 16, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. Dick

    I'm confused. McDonnell first was against the money because it would be paid for with "crushing long term debt." Then he said he would accept it because it came from Virginia taxpayers. Did Virginia raise taxes to pay for there share?
    And Tucker, Tim Kaine applied for the money because he was in favor of the stimulus package, not against it. I think your brain needs to speed up a little so that it can outrun your mouth.

    February 16, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. Brown

    It's VERY EASY to see who CNN caters to in it's "unbiased" news reports...considering 99% of the people here are Democraps!! And just like every other Democrap from Obama on down, all they want to do is POINT FINGERS and blame others!! Thanks to all the Nancy Pelosi's for posting here!!

    February 16, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. charlotte

    A Republican? Exhibiting hypocricy?? Oh, dear, what a shock and surprise.

    February 16, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Rick

    Republicans are Hypocrites!!!!!They are unamerican and don't care about the American people. The Party of No at it again.

    February 16, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. Mike in MN

    McDonnell is not a hypocrite for support infrastructure spending from the stimulus.
    Republicans did not support the Obama stimulus because they did not believe it spent enough on infrastructure or tax cuts to have a significant impact on the economy or job creation and because it spent hundreds of billions on pork for groups that helped get Democrats elected in 2008. Pork spending that does nothing to create jobs or stimulate the economy, just grows the defiict and funds Democrat special interest groups.
    The Democrats wrote a bad bill and Republicans are correct to oppose the Obama stimulus that does too little to create jobs or stimulate the economy and is full of wasted non stimulus deficit growing spending.
    If the Democrats had written a bill without the pork and more stimulus, it would have gotten some bipartisan support from Republicans. In fact the Republicans wrote just such a bill themselves that the Democrats killed.

    February 16, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. Joe in CT - not Lieberman!!!

    Typical Republican antics – let's ask for a handout from the feds then lambaste them for handing out unwanted monies. If McDonnell really wanted to make a point, he should have publicly refused whatever monies were offered to him (probably to the chagrin of whatever Republican Congressman got the earmark for his pet project put in). By the way, Bob, how's the state budget now that the snow removal has broken the bank? Ya gonna ask to be named a disaster area for Federal funds then blast that program, too?

    February 16, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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