July 15th, 2012
10:50 AM ET
8 years ago

Governors, peering over 'fiscal cliff,' place blame differently

(CNN) – Two high-profile governors had vastly different assessments Sunday of who was to blame for the massive cuts to defense spending that are slated to go into effect at the beginning of next year.

The so-called "fiscal cliff," which would force the Pentagon to cut $500 billion from its budgets over the next decade, came about after congressional negotiators failed to agree on a deficit-reduction plan last fall. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, blamed the potential cuts on the White House, while Gov. Deval Patrick, Democrat of Massachusetts, said Republicans in Congress were to blame.

"They need to act now to try to address this, because defense contractors might have to send out warning notices in the next couple months to hundreds of thousands of employees saying you might not have a job. So I think the president needs to lead on this, get Congress back, and do something about sequestration," McDonnell said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Virginia relies heavily on the U.S. military for jobs and is home to the largest naval base in the world in Norfolk. Thousands more Virginians are employed by private defense contractors, which have said they are preparing to slash their workforces should the mandated budget cuts go into effect.

Massachusetts would also be heavily impacted by cuts to the U.S. defense budget. Patrick said the responsibility for the cuts should be placed with Republicans in Congress who were unwilling to strike a compromise with the Democratic White House.

"I don't think anybody wants this to happen, but, remember, we have sequestration because the Republican Congress wouldn't reach out, reach back to the president on a balanced approach, which was a combination of cuts and tax increases," Patrick said.

He continued, "When I hear about issues of leadership, remember, it was the president who reached a deal with (House Speaker John) Boehner more than a year ago now. Speaker Boehner couldn't sell it with his tea party caucus back in the House."

McDonnell disagreed, saying that Obama was as much to blame as Republicans in the House for the breakdown in negotiations over the federal deficit.

"It's a bipartisan failure that we got to the point where we're at, where we're running up this much national debt," McDonnell said, adding: "The president needs to take leadership and say, 'Let's get back and fix this now to create certainty.'"

Both governors act as surrogates for their parties' presidential candidates, and on Sunday each said his party's man would be better equipped to handle deficit reduction over the next four years.

McDonnell said presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney would take his cues from states with Republican governors that have produced balanced budgets.

"There's something different going on, and that's why Mitt Romney is saying, 'Look, you like the way the governance worked in Republican-governed states, elect me and you'll see more of the same.'"

Patrick disagreed, saying much of his time as governor of the Bay State has been spent reversing policies enacted by Romney, who held the office from 2003 to 2007.

"We're growing twice as fast as the national growth rate, and many of the things that Mitt Romney left broken we have fixed," Patrick said. "So a strategy which is about investing around growth, investing in education, in infrastructure, and in innovation - which is actually quite like what is happening in Virginia - is working in Massachusetts as well, and it's precisely the strategy that the president has proposed at the national level."

Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Deval Patrick • Pentagon
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Dilip Samuels

    It's confounding ...just listen to these TEA PARTY GOP Governors
    Don't touch defence spending, dont touch OIL subsidies, don't touch BUSH subsidies...AND CUT the deficit

    This is the ultimate stupidity for lack of a more apt term....GO FIGURE

    July 15, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. 2020

    Bob McDonnell, ROMNEY SUCKER, say whatever it takes to stay on the vp list.

    Bob McDonnell doesn't know how to create job. If Virgina is cut form the defence budget support, his governorship is doom. he is a sitting duck.

    Funny, he also cries foul of the Federal Deficit. He wants it both way.

    July 15, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  3. kate

    OBAMA 2012! Keep us out of war!

    July 15, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. mk1

    President Obama's approval rating may be just under 50% but the approval rating of Congress is around 12%. That says it all.

    July 15, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. sickofitinca

    When you look at the states that are struggling, you can look and see that the most of them are the Democrat policies that got them there. High levels of spending to stimulate the economy to create more jobs is not the way to do it. If you would like a living example here in the US, look to California. They have higher unemployment than the national average and are second in the nation in that category. They just approved another 9 billion dollar bond issue to build a train form nowhere to nowhere. The State has 3 large cities in bankruptcy and more will follow shortly. The democrats hold majorities in the legislature and a Democrat in the Statehouse. they are the breeding and training grounds for Progressive plans and what NOT to do during an economic crisis.

    So we are faced with the choice to follow California with 11.1% unemployment or follow North Dakota with a 3% unemployment? I will let you choose.

    July 15, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. vic , nashville ,tn

    This tea party governors never learn, Fire fighters and police are forced work for $7.25 (minimum wage) this is happening in USA
    We are browning money from Chinese Building roads and Hospital in Afghanistan that is OK for GOP governors

    July 15, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  7. rla

    All the posts lead to the same conclusion- Take more money from me and my family, increase public sector jobs, demean everyone who is successful and that includes the middle classs and last but not least (OBAMA SAID TODAY THAT DC IS AS BROKEN AS IT WAS FOUR YEARS AGO) Nice job Obama!!!! Time to move on!

    July 15, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. King

    lesson Clinton had a spending percentage of 3.5 and a 35 percent taxes, bush cut taxes twice and had a 9 percent spending. Obama contrary to repubs rant that he's spending too much, only has a 1 percent spending percentage the lowest in modernized history, and the lowest taxes in 60 years. the repugs shout about Obama policies, while they fight on every front to not allowing the president policies not exist. its amazing when good things happens its their fault but when things go bad it's Obama policies, when Congress is the ones that writ policies and all the president does is sign what the repubs write. when will the repubs get around to write a jobs bill that doesn't say tax cuts for the outsourcing rich folks.

    July 15, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. LoLo

    If the repulicans were concentrating more on doing the job they were elected to do, instead of making sure President Obama served only one term they would have had more time to read the legislation that was set before them. Sarah Palin dumbed down the republican party so bad, that they were more than willing to vote dummies into the house because of their racist views and hypocrisy because they looked like them, forget there knowledge of government affairs. Now that they don't like what is happening to their red states they want to blame Obama. Remember it was your republican governors who signed all of the pledges to protect party and not America. Now you have to drown in your own tears. Since most of the red states are calling to break away from the united states if Obama is re-elected anyway all I can say is adios amigos.

    July 15, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. Larry L

    Two words – "Tea Party". When you're negotiating with terrorists who want to die your options are limited. The Tea Party radicals want to reduce the capabilities of the Federal Government and turn over all functions to the cronies at the State level. They want to eliminate environmental protection, Socil Security, Medicare, and regulations on Wall Street. More than anything, they want a Evangelical, right-wing, and (most importantly) white man for President.

    July 15, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Pander Bear

    The GOP purposely held up the Debt limit debate and demanded these cuts. They wouldn't accept ANY proposal from the President and now they're complaining about the cuts that tehy themselves imposed? Give me a break. And VA's economy is doing pretty well, so how does McConnell expect to tell VA residents that things are going great and tell the other 49 states that Obama is to blame of everything.

    July 15, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. Pander Bear

    sick said "So we are faced with the choice to follow California with 11.1% unemployment or follow North Dakota with a 3% unemployment?"

    Population of North Dakota – 683,932
    Population of California – 37,691,912

    I live in a city with a greater population than the entire state of North Dakota. What in the world makes you think the two states are comparable? And ND has benefited from the recent oil and gas prices, which are already coming down.

    July 15, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  13. mk1

    King you are absolutely right. Spending during Clinton's final term was up 3.5%, Bush's first term 7.2% up, second term 8.1% up, and President Obama so far is 1.4% up. Who tends to spend more? It amazes me that the Dems don't hammer and hammer on this theme, it is a winner.

    July 15, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. mk1

    rla, see my former post about spending and then tell us how out of control spending is under President Obama. Federal spending is at a three decades low at present and yet the nit wits on the right talk about tax and spend. Selective memory at best, outright ignoring of facts at worst.

    July 15, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. ge

    republicans will never pass any bill that has regulation,epa or clean air and water in it.

    July 15, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. John

    Republicans blatantly and flat-out lie about everything! If it rained they would blame Obama, but if that rain fell where we need it they'd say THEY made it and in spite of HIS obstructions. Cynical and greedy liars, the bunch of them.

    July 15, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |