Charlotte, N.C.— What is Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia doing here? The weather in the Queen City is dismal (rain), and uptown is full of liberals.
“Just showing a little love and affection for the Democrats, President Obama, and their fine policies,” McDonnell says, playfully.
Of course, he’s doing the opposite. As with John Sununu, a senior Romney adviser, McDonnell is here to “bracket” the president’s speech, as Beltway consultants say.
That means he’s holding conference calls with reporters, mingling with television producers, and going on radio shows to throw cold water on the Obama spin.
“Tonight, when the president gets up there, I think we’ll hear soaring, uplifting rhetoric, as well as a lot of code words about ‘investing,’ which means more tax increases and regulations,” McDonnell predicts. “What we won’t hear is anything about the debt, the unemployment rate, or an energy plan.”
McDonnell has been sounding this theme all day, and if you click on your television this evening, you’ll probably see him pop up everywhere. “Some people are going to focus on the emotion and the rhetoric, but we’re going to remind people about how the president uses fear and class warfare,” he says.
“The president has a very disturbing campaign strategy: He is trying to divide the country,” McDonnell says. “These days, [the Democratic party] is not the party of Bill Clinton, or the party of John Kennedy. The far-left wing of the party, led by the most liberal president in American history, is controlling the platform.”
On that note, McDonnell, who has been involved with the GOP platform for years, says the Democrats’ decision to omit God and Jerusalem from their platform “was not a mistake but something that they did consciously.”
Turning to Virginia politics, I ask about Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat who recently visited the Iowa delegation, which stoked discussion about his ambitions for 2016. “Warner has wanted to run for president for years,” McDonnell says. “He was thinking about it back in 2007, and decided not to run. But it’s clear that he’s keeping his options open. I expect to see him in Iowa and New Hampshire soon.”
McDonnell, however, doesn’t think Warner would go far. “He has the brand of a moderate Democrat,” he says. “But he has toed the line with Harry Reid on every major liberal initiative. So, he’d have some explaining to do.”