Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell backs Romney
January 20th, 2012
08:11 AM ET
10 years ago

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell backs Romney

(CNN) - Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced he was backing GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney Friday, saying his support could help Romney win Saturday's hotly-contested South Carolina primary.

"I'm a Southern governor endorsing Mitt Romney in the first Southern state primary," McDonnell said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."

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"The governor of South Carolina has endorsed him as well. I think hopefully that will help him some. He's the one that's been consistent. Other candidates have been up and down. He is the consistent, results-oriented conservative who has the best record and the best message on jobs and on cutting spending," McDonnell said.

Romney's campaign said McDonnell would campaign with Romney in South Carolina ahead of Saturday's first-in-the-South primary, including a stop Friday in Charleston.

McDonnell, considered a rising Republican star, has served as governor of Virginia since 2010, and also acts as the chairman of the Republican Governors Association. He is seen by many as a potential vice presidential pick for the eventual GOP nominee.

McDonnell singled out Romney's experience as governor of Massachusetts in his announcement.

"I'm endorsing Mitt Romney because I think he's the right leader at the right time," McDonnell said on CNN. "He's got a proven record of doing that in the public and private sector. I think he's the best chance to be able to defeat President Obama in November. So I'm thrilled to be supporting Mitt Romney. I've said for a long time a current or former governor would be the best leader for America, and he's the one I'm supporting."

McDonnell's announcement comes one day after another governor, Rick Perry of Texas, dropped out of the GOP race. McDonnell took over the chairmanship of the Republican Governor's Association from Perry when the Texan announced he was running for president, and the two are known to be friends.

Early in Perry's candidacy, McDonnell defended Perry after a weak debate performance, saying his stance on important issues would outweigh poor debate delivery.

"He's been in the race for three weeks. I'd say cut him some slack," McDonnell said in September. "People will forgive something they might think is an inferior debate performance if somebody's right on the issues."

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman also dropped his bid earlier this week. Neither Perry nor Huntsman qualified to appear on Virginia's Republican primary ballot.

In his own statement, Romney praised the Virginia governor's record on job creation.

"Governor McDonnell's leadership in Virginia is an example for the rest of the nation," Romney said. "Governor McDonnell has used the conservative principles of keeping taxes and spending low and creating a fair regulatory climate to make Virginia a top destination for job creators. These same principles can be used in Washington to fix our economy and make government accountable to the taxpayers."

-CNN's Rachel Streitfeld and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • 2012 VP Pick • Bob McDonnell • Mitt Romney
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Hey, nice hair! Bobbie has been sniffing around Mittens for months, so this is no surprise. There is something about Cayman Romney, that reeks of big money, and the republican wannabes are driven by the aroma of tax evasion, job destruction, and vulture capitalism.

    January 20, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Being 47th in job creation in MA, during a time when our country was undergoing a huge economic boom period, is not something to brag about.

    January 20, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  3. Do a barrel roll

    And I guess this is why the Governor changed Virginia into a "closed primary" state.

    January 20, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Taxes are at the lowest in 50 years, we do not need to cut taxes. Time for the republicans to get real. It would be nice to see increases in revenue to address our debt.

    January 20, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  5. GI Joe

    Well – he couldn't back Newtered because he isn't even on the ballot in his own home state. Smart? I don't think Newt is smart, he's conniving. No Newt - EVER. Romney? 47th in job creation, but he made millions for MItt,

    January 20, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Romeny praises McDonnell on fiscal policies. Republicans talk a good game while playing a false one. They talk of controlling spending and debt as if they are the party of fiscal responsibility. Yet, every time America has a Republican in the White House over the past 40-50 years look at what actually happens. Republicans mulitply the annual deficit by orders of magnitude, balloon the national debt, and leave the economy in a complete mess.

    Reagan's tax cuts created two self-inflicted recessions with his economic policies, at a time when the global economy was growing by leaps and bounds. Bush-41 tried to keep the unsustainable tax cuts because of campaign promises and plunged the country into yet another recession, for which he had to raise taxes to pull us out. Bush-43 cut taxes and started an unpaid war, twice. His economic policies will create more jobs from the books people will write about him than what were created during his two terms.

    January 20, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  7. Independent Voters

    Vote him out of the office.

    January 20, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  8. vic , nashville ,tn

    No to Romney

    January 20, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    1.Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Hey, nice hair! Bobbie has been sniffing around Mittens for months, so this is no surprise. There is something about Cayman Romney, that reeks of big money, and the republican wannabes are driven by the aroma of tax evasion, job destruction, and vulture capitalism
    Always good to read your posts Wire, they are enjoyable and informative. Likewise for my friend GI Joe.

    January 20, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. Joan

    The media has kept saying that the Obama campaign fears running against Mitt Romney. Well, after the last couple of weeks, they don't need to worry so much. With the the mistrust of the 1% and the simmering influence of OWS there will be a rally of support for the one candidate who speaks for the middle class and 99% of America. Romney's taxes will be scrutinized more than any other candidate's in recent years. He could have avoided that by releasing them quetly a few months ago before it became such an issue. They keep saying that they are running against Pres. Obama's horrible record. Well, if they are honest, they will see that he actually has a pretty darn good check list. Of course, the President can easily run against the do-nothing Congress and its horrible record. Their politcy of obstruction has resulted in the worst record of bills passed in years, the loss of the AAA rating and the lowest approval rate ever. So the President can easily prove that things are getting a lot better, that it is the Republicans in Congress and their allegiance to Norquist who have obstructed more progress and that Romney is the poster boy for the 1%. Case closed.

    January 20, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  11. Jersey Bob

    You all realize, of course, that there are only two candidates on the ballot for the Virginia Republican Primary...... Mittens.... and Ron Paul....... Newt, Sanatorium, and the now-defunct Rick Perry failed to meet Va criteria and are not available for the voting....

    January 20, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  12. GI Joe

    Hmmmmmm - brown-nosing for VP maybe? The GOP ALWAYS has an ulterior motive. Don't trust any of them, and Newt's little hissy fit sure didn't make him look grown-up enough to lead our military

    I'll be voting for "that one" again (I'm not a hater ............)

    January 20, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  13. Whatever

    IF ... IF... Republicans were really fiscally responsible then ALL the red states would be in the BLACK with lots and lots of $$$$$$$ for education, etc. They cut education and wonder why the next generation is dumb?! They cut benefts and wonder why crime has risen?! They grant tax breaks for the "job creators" – where are the jobs?! They do not cut sales taxes, property taxes or other taxes. They talk a good game and people seem to fall for it every single time.

    Obama 2012

    January 20, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  14. Whatever

    Mitt even said that government does not create jobs... Newty too... so they rally against the President. CONGRESS CAMPAIGNED IN 2010 ON JOBS – – WHERE ARE THE JOBS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!

    January 20, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Why doesn't Mitt Romney want to release his taxes? People wanting to see his tax returns has nothing to do with the rate that he has paid. People are far more interested in who, what and where his revenue streams come from. People are far more interested in what impact would his own proposed tax reforms have on his own personal situation.

    Gov. Romney doesn't want people to be able to confirm the obivious, which is the fact that his tax reforms would reduce his personal annual tax debt to near zero. He doesn't want you to see where he gets his money from because he would see that his economic policies would produce a windfall of wealth for himself.

    Romney doesn't want to see you his Bain days because most people would be appalled by the loophole that allows him to pay himself commissions from *investments made with other people's money* and call those same commissions capital gains, instead of the earned income that it is. Just because his company *sold money* instead of a manufactured good, tax loopholes allow them to declare all profits and commissions capital gains instead of earned income.

    January 20, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    Ok, since the primary job of the VP over the last few decades has been to help guide the president's agenda through Congress, what evidence do we have that Bob McDonnell has the ability to do that? Since there is a very good chance that Congress will be spilt between the 2 parties, and that such a scenario will require that the VP be able to navigate the legislation throught that split body, how can McDonnell even think he is capable of doing that? He would be a weak pick at best, and would bring nothing to a GOP ticket that would be in desperate need of appealing to independents.

    January 20, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  17. Anonymous

    The media need to report on Santorum's political corruption and misdeeds. The public would be shocked to hear and read these.

    January 20, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  18. Patriot

    Has everyone forgotten about Gingrich's $300,000 fine for tax invasion and his 84 congressional rules viollations, and check fraud writing? Gingrich is a smooth talking salesman that will fool you right in to voting for him.

    January 20, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  19. Faith

    Thank you Mitt. The only one that understands the economy.

    January 20, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  20. Dave

    Why do they have to release their taxes? They never used to until sometime in the 1970's. Why is it any of our business?
    Romney is attacked for not releasing taxes yet, even though he says he will release them April when it is customary.
    Rick Santorum says he will do it when he gets home…. And no one knows when that is and could care less.
    Newt releases his DURING the debate last night… all for show… and is praised for it.
    Ron Paul says he does not plan to release his… ever… and no one cares.

    They are being idiots and hurting themselves against Obama, BADLY. This is nothing but what the left wants: class warfare. Why is Romney singled out? Because he is rich. Because he has accounts in the Cayman Islands. Because he lived on dividends and only had to pay the 15% Capital Gains tax (never mind that the money was already taxed once years ago at over 36%)

    The focus should be on the economy and they are acting like the Occupy idiots and playing right into Obama’s hands and the class warfare BS.

    Plus they want to trash him for giving millions to the Church of LDS. We used to praise people for hard work, being succesful, and giving to charities and churches.... now they are being attacked for those things.

    Meanwhile no one cared that Biden and Gore only gave about $300 to charity when they released theirs. No one cared that the Obama's gave very little percentage wise during 2000-2006.
    But Romney will get killed for giving to the church.

    This country is getting to be so upside down it is scary.

    it truly is our demise.

    January 20, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  21. ListeningAlways

    Republicans moved into the White House in Jan 2001 with a a budget surplus. Eight years later, after Bush Tax Cuts, 2 tax rebates, and a war looking for "weapons of mass destruction," the economy was a mess. Any attempts to fix the economy are blocked by Republicans who seem to want to Republicans in the White House rather than a solution to the problems – are these folks Republicans first or Americans first? Gov. McDonnell just repeated the same old Republican garbage this morning on on CNN. Hopefully, Americans will understand this and keep the Republicans out of the White House and out of more mischief.

    January 20, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  22. Dave

    Rudy NYC

    Why are you hating on the rich, succesful guys doing EXACTLY what every other American does: trying to pay as little in taxes as possible.

    Don't like the loopholes and the way they get around things.... then vote for the republicans who have been screaming about this for decades and the ones who propose flat taxes or National Sales Taxes. those proposals get rid of EVERY loophole.

    Paul Ryan's budget plan to get rid of all debt and deficit and make SS and Medicair solvent calls for a reduction to 25% of the highest tax bracket and making everyone in pay xactly that. i.e getting rid of every loophole. It would actually generate more revenue than now.

    But.... every time these things are brought up, the Democrats (who are actually the wealthier party backed by MORE of Wall St.) blow it off as non sense and dismiss it.

    January 20, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    "McDonnell, considered a rising Republican star, has served as governor of Virginia since 2010,"

    The good news for this joker is he hasn't crumbled like so many other GOPer "rising stars" seem to do. And, my oh my, there have been so very many of them. Sanford, Ensign, Christine O'Donnell, Sharon Angle, Joe Miller, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Rick Scott, John Kasich. The list goes on and on...

    January 20, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It seems that Romney could still be the nominee, but he is going to have to fight through the mud to get it. I wonder if it is really worth it now.

    January 20, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  25. dreamer96

    The only problem with Obamacare is they dropped the Public option...

    Obama should order the Federal Reserve to start buying stock in one Health Insurance Company until we own 51% of the stock...then take over the board and cut the bonuses down, the Administration salaries and offer a real affordable insurance rate...and drive the other companies out so the average American, and small business can afford health insurance..

    January 20, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
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