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. Spokaloo

    Let's see now...
    States that voted against the stimulus are now stuck with paying taxes on it just like the states who voted for it.
    ...Seems to me if they have to pay the taxes on it they would be fools not to gleen what they can from it.
    I see no conflict ot interests here.
    Dems, as usual, aren't thinking rationally.

    February 16, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. A. Goodwin

    @Andy: I think its the other way around, buddy. Just remember that (proven fact) people in the “blue states” (states that typically vote Democratic) are collectively more educated than people in the “red states” (states that typically vote Republican).


    – States that voted for Kerry in 2004 had 21 percent more college graduates than states that voted for Bush.
    – The states that ranked the lowest for high school and college graduates were all red states.
    – Eight out of 10 of the states that ranked the highest for high school college graduates were blue states. (The number one state, by far, is Colorado — technically a red state because it went for Bush by a small margin, but effectively a “purple” state because it’s become so politically mixed.)

    Oh, and thanks for bringing up No Child Left Behind...which COULD be a great program if it was actually funded. But alas, the Republican's wouldn't have any of that. They would rather get rich off their oil and start a war.

    February 16, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. stormerF

    First they try to force it on the states now they pi$$ and moan when a state takes the money, Several Governors refused the money only to have their legislative branch over turn their refusal. The Democrtas need to take the rest of the 511 billion in the stimulis and put it toward nothing but infrastructure and job creattion like Nuclear power plants,where permanent jobs are created.

    February 16, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. Debbie

    Yes, the health IT grants accepted Monday were applied for by the previous governor, Democrat Tim Kainee BUT the current GOV did not have to accept them. This is Palin's game on the bridge to nowhere.

    It's a pretty simple fix. Ask the current Gov to go on TV and return the $$.

    He should put "his" money where his mouth is.

    February 16, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. tmart

    It seems wrong to say he'd accept the stimulus money because it came from Virginia taxpayers. It did not! It was NEW MONEY created by the stimulus act! I truly hope that independents will begin to realize that Republicans really are blatantly hypocritical lately and obstructionist to the extreme.

    February 16, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. Tony

    So if Virginia didn't take the money these loons doled out, are they shielded from the impending tax increases for the out of control spending? Doesn't work like that? Really? Love the left, no clue what is real and what is make believe.

    February 16, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Republicans don't say NO to money they just find deceitful ways of making people think do. It's the same old Republican game, throw a stone and hide your hand. Republicans did this for 8 years while Bush was in office and still believe it will work for them again. Only if we let them.

    February 16, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Mike in MN

    Maybe instead of telling lies, the Democrats should tell the truth as to why Republicans are opposed to the stumulus and maybe the Democrats should tell the American voters the truth about the Republican stiumlus bill they killed.
    You see the truth is that Republicans opposed the stimulus bill because it did not spend enough on infrastructure projects, did not have sufficient tax cuts for business and the middle class to stimulate the economy and spent hundreds of billions on wasted pork that rewarded only special interest groups that helped Democrats get elected but did nothing to create jobs or stimulate the economy.
    The Democrats should tell the truth about the Republican stimulus bill that they killed and that the CBO said would create more jobs faster and spend about half as much money. You see the Republican stimulus bill spent the same as the Democrat's bill on unemployment and food stamps and more on infrastructure and tax cuts and did not include the hundreds of billion in wasted pork for Democrat special interest groups.
    So you see when Republicans support infracture spending from the stimulus that is because their bill spent even more on such projects than the Democrats.
    Maybe Democrats should trying telling the real truth for once. I won't hold my breath waiting.

    February 16, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. EDR

    So dems, if a government official went door-to-door in your neighborhood and took $1000 from you and each of your neighbors, and half the people said "NO" to the idea, but the government took it anyway. And then later on another government official went door-to-door in your neighborhood handing out $100 to each person in the neighborhood, You think those who were FORCED to give $1000 against their will, should now not be entitled to a small return, just because they were against the idea in the first place? For what, so that those who were FOR the idea can then get $2000 in return?

    February 16, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. The Voice

    Virginians are a bunch of fools! Could've seen that one coming from another galaxy. Republicans will say anthing to win elections. How long is going to take for Americans to realize that?!?

    Do they actuallly think Republicans are going to change anything. They are going back to the Bush days, simple as that. Same ideology, same results.

    For the rich and corporations. The ones who got us in this mess in the first place. So sad America! So sad Virginians.

    February 16, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. IVOTE

    It's time to change the definition of "Republican" in Webster Dictionary by adding HYPOCRITE, LIAR and OBSTRUCTIONIST. I stop just short of adding "RACIST".

    February 16, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |

    Yes, you dolts, of course ONLY DEMOCRATS can access these hundreds of billions of "stimulus" money!!!!! Do you think they are doing this for the welfare of the country or something?!

    February 16, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  13. Steve (the real one)

    The nerve of McDonald getting FREE money! Who does he think he is ...a democrat? If he turns down the money is it going back to the people? Is it going to pay down the debt? Will it go back to the general treasury? You can GIVE Landrieu $300M for a vote with no problem, right?

    February 16, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. Steph

    I love how many republicans voted against the stimulus, but were happy to take the money. They're spending the money while trying to score political points by publicly trashing the stimulus. No one forced them to take it. If they actually stood on principle, they would have turned it down. So, every republican who took stimulus money is a RINO, right tea partiers? Go, fight against them! Kick them out!

    February 16, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. File under "Sarcasm"

    It's Federal grant money for technology infrastructure with no ongoing, unfunded entitlement coming partially from Virginia taxes and was applied for by the prior Democratic Governor who signed Virginia up for the federal electronic medical records project.

    I guess all you left wing loons would think him more principled (but dumber?) if he turned it down, leaving the Virgina project unfunded and letting the Obama Administration send the money to Chicago to fund pot hole repairs. If so, I'll lend you some scissors to "cut off your nose to spite your face".

    February 16, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Wow. $24 million out of $787 BILLION. Since about $40 billion of the $787 billion Porkulous spending will be extracted from Virginia taxpayers, that's a return of 1/20th of 1% of the cash they'll be forced to pay. Democrats, thy indignation is shameless.

    February 16, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Harry

    Is Obama doing consultant work for Toyota?

    February 16, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |

    AND SHE WILL {HAVE 2} TAKE! WE are not from the Forgiving Church as forgiveness is even FAR BEHIND THE LAST thing we (would) care about! Wasn't it that homosexuals weren't electable for (going 2) such heaven some thought they would be going 2?! Well, they will go in2 A HEAVEN, but nothing like they ever thought they would go to! For gays and all others who don't even have a chance of "going to heaven" THE COMMANDS and FORGIVENESS can't/don't apply! That can't be, while according to some they have nothing to gain with that! HAHAHAHAHA: HOW MUCH COMPLICATED DO THINGS GET FOR THOSE PEOPLE!

    February 16, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. j

    The Conservatives are all a bunch of HYPOCRITES!

    February 16, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. daniel

    Amazing to watch as Republicans like Mike in MN defend the indefensible, exactly the sort of thing they would be outraged about were the shoe on the other foot. It's like the old Norse saying: "Every man loves the smell of his own f.rts." In other words, Republicans think that if it comes from them, it's got to be good. But I'm here to tell you here and now that the rest of us are gasping for breath, our eyes are watering, and we are praying for somebody, anybody to crack open a window, please!

    February 16, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Steph

    Yes, Henry Miller, McDonnell is the victim here. Whatever! Virginia has already received (read spent) 1 billion dollars of the 4.3 billion they sought and were awarded. Oh, poor Bob!

    February 16, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. Biased

    This garbage phony complaining has got to stop!
    Anyone could vote against something because they don't like it, but if it passes, then why shouldn't he take advantage for the people of his state? If it is set up that residents of the state have to pay anyway even if they don't take it, what kind of fool would pass it up. Maybe they also figure out if they are going to be paying for the residents of Nebraska forever out of their state taxes thanks to Democratic stupidity and needing to buy votes for a bill most Americans don't like, why should they pass anything up since it is now available.
    I remember Dems fuming when Kerry was accused of being for it before he was against it. I rememebr Obama telling Dems he would vote against FISA then voted for it. Dems all excused it saying he was smart about changing his mind. Democrats need to get a life and their own party in order before they start pointing fingers.

    February 16, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. Susie

    Someone please explain "pork" to me, because it seems as if it goes to YOUR state, then it is needed federal aid, but if it goes to MY state, it becomes pork. And someone please stand up and admit that Palin ran the biggest scam of all...Alaska gets more federal dollars by far than they contribute back, and meanwhile, they tax the oil and gas companies so the state can run a budget surplus, then brag that they are fiscally conservative. Moose puckey, Palin, you "spread the wealth" from the oil companies to all your citizens. Sounds almost like socialist ideals...that mixed with your desire to secede with Texas sure makes you a dandy example of a patriot.

    February 16, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. blah blah blah

    Crist is the only Republican who has been honest about the need for the stimulus funds, and he's getting attacked by the far right. Apparently, tea baggers aren't so big on honesty. You can ask for the money, you can spend the money, but you better say you're against the stimulus.

    February 16, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  25. Rick McDaniel

    The issue there, is that the money will be used, not to make health care more available to the public, but to create new ways to charge an arm and a leg, to provide it.

    Not a very good way to spend the public's money.

    February 16, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
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