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GOP Raises Concerns about Kaine, VP Speculation

Tim Craig

Given the state's budget shortfall and an expected painful round of spending cuts this fall, Virginia Republican leaders said today Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) should consider whether he will step down as governor if he is selected by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) this month to be his running mate in the presidential race.

Kaine's four-year term ends in January 2010. If Kaine were to leave office early, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, a Republican, would become governor.

GOP leaders made their remarks after Kaine told the House and Senate money committees "difficult" spending decisions will have to made this fall. If Obama were to choose Kaine, the governor would most likely be expected to be on the campaign trail between now and the Nov. 4 election.

"It is going to be problematic," said House Majority Whip M. Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights). "I am not going to immediately jump up and ask him to step down, but the key is how do you run the state and campaign? Can he effectively make those (budget) decisions if he is out of the state for the next two months? That is the first question that should be asked of him: 'In light of our downturn, what are you going to do to be a hands-on governor?' If he can not effectively answer that question, than I think he does have to consider" resigning if he is selected by Obama.

House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem) said, "with the serious issues facing Virginia, it would be difficult" for Kaine "to do both" jobs.

"That will be a personal decision, he will have to make," said Del. Phillip A. Hamilton (R-Newport News), the vice-chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. "I am sure he would make the right decision for the Commonwealth."

In a brief meeting with reporters this morning, Kaine refused to answer a question about whether he could effectively handle the budget situation at the same time if he is chosen as Obama's running mate. But Kaine said on Saturday he doubts that Obama will select him.

"It's been very flattering to be mentioned," Kaine said. "I don't have any illusions about it. . . . I don't think that's likely to happen."

By Tim Craig  |  August 18, 2008; 1:31 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Virginia Republicans are practically begging Obama to pick Kaine. I'm not sure if they're genuine or not but they make a decent case.

Posted by: Southsider | August 18, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

His lack of attention is why we have no solution to the transportation mess. Now that he is off playing politics the economy is tanking as well. I say get out now even if he is the VP or not. Please. Go.

Posted by: Fightertom34 | August 18, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Fightertom34 | August 18, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

actually, Virginia Republicans stand to benefit nicely if Kaine becomes VP -- but I wouldn't read their actions as trying to get Obama to pick him. In fact, they are pretty lukewarm to the idea, which gives you a sense of what a midget Kaine is.

Posted by: charlie | August 18, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

The budget problems in the commonwealth are directly attributable to two things - the drastic downturn in the economy (loss of gas tax revenue and home mortgage defaults with resulting loss of property taxes); and the failure of the GOP controlled House to pass meaningful budgets to address the very serious transportation issues faced by the drivers in Northorn Virginia and the Tidewater area. Rural attitudes from our delegates won't fit in with the demands of our major metropolitan areas, with the growing population and number of cars on our roads (and the larger number of tax-paying citizens in these areas). Equity is demanded in distributing the tax revenue to the areas in the most need, as well as an increase of user taxes to cover the constant need for improvements of the Commonwealth's roads and bridges.

Posted by: concernedvirginian | August 18, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it's Kaine's fault that Republicans in the state legislature cannot set aside ideology in order to get practical politics done in this state. Of course, that is why Republicans can only when office in places where they think ending abortion will bring jobs back to this country and put food on their tables.

Taxes are bad! The rallying cry of people who have no concept of the meaning of governance. They would prefer to keep their kids uneducated and cops off the streets so they could home-school them in nutery and bigotry and protect the family property...just like the good ol' days...or like tribalism, which we were supposed to have risen above.

Drive on neo-Republicans, we will not be rid of your ilk until we hit rock bottom.

Posted by: Mike | August 18, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Aren't the observations being made by these Republican officials true of any governer being picked for VP? Wouldn't it be just as problematic if John McCain picked a governer as a running mate?

Let's get real here. This is just more fear and obfuscation by the Republican party. You can bet that these are the latest talking points being passed down from Republican advisors.

Posted by: AnnapolisMD | August 18, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I thought it was just the Democrats who were getting antsy waiting to hear about Obama's VP pick (and the Republicans getting antsy re McCain's).

Surely the Republicans in Virginia can find something in the world that would be more constructive than responding now to something that hasn't happened yet? Like trying to find solutions to our tough budget, economic, and transportations issues? Or are they not in the problem-solving business so much as the making a lot of partisan noise business?

I swear that Obama's Midwestern motto of "no drama" is beginning to be the biggest part of his appeal to me! Enough with the drama, people, we have real-life issues to resolve, and not just at the national and world level. Jeepers.

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | August 18, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Gov. Kaine is slashing the budget to save money! Exactly where is he slashing to save all this money? Can he see only the immediate future and totally blind when it comes to looking down the road? Assets--what are our greatest assets? I am far from being the brightest bulb in the building, but, in my own selfish way, I think our children are our greatest asset. We have to leave everything to them, to include the mess we make. The dearest and greatest thing I can leave my kids is a well educated, well informed, and well armed public. A great educational system will bring in all the jobs we can handle. Of course, if our politicians prefer to have all the other nations educated and our children uneducated, turned off and tuned out.

When it comes to the pay for the politicians, why not have the people decide what they will get and what perks they can have?

How come the media does not ask the question of oil on government land? OPEC gets its 40/60% (40% for the oil company and 60% for the nation) for every barrel of oil, has the USA been paid OPEC prices for our oil? Besides, there is an international economic zone for each nation bordering the sea. The Gulf of Mexico is mainly in this USA economic zone. Therefore, all the oil underneath the waters belong to the American people. Are we getting our OPEC (FAIR) share? I think not...and the politicians---to include Gov Kaine knows it.

Posted by: Paul Humphries | August 18, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

We've heard year over year about the stalemates in the Virginia GOP Lead Legislature. When the economy was booming, they refused to raise the funds needed to pay for Gilmore's car tax cut. VA's House of Delegates and Senate have stalled on fixing the states clogged roads for years. Most of them have one thing in common, they're too selfish to do the needful and finance transportation and infrastructure, because it doesn't help their little rural town wherever they live. So now 10+ years after Gilmore's car tax "relief" plan, which irresponsibly he planned no funding for, we have too much debt and an economy too starved by energy costs to raise any revenue to fix our problems. We were spending well over-budget when Warner inherited it, and Republicans nearly caused a state shut-down refusing to set taxes at a level to pay for the budget. Now a governor is finally saying we have to make tough cuts. We shouldn't raise any taxes at a time like this, so we have to cut things we don't need. We need to remember this. We have to be realistic and not play the yearly political games Republicans play every year stubbornly playing the "no tax increases" card even when the state budget calls for it. Its great to say "you won't pay more taxes" but its not realistic to think we can keep spending more at the same time. The roads don't pave themselves.

Posted by: roperry | August 18, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

It will be Biden. Perfect guy to go after McCain.

Posted by: Arny | August 18, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Crist doesn't seem to give much of a hoot about what's going on in Florida, while he campaigns to be the Republican VP nominee. But since he's Republican, then I guess that's different.

Posted by: michael4 | August 18, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

I hope it's Biden. He was my first choice anyway. I'd love to see him take on the fake patriot.

Posted by: michael4 | August 18, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

It is not going to be any of the speculated ones. Senator Obama is going to drop a "bomb-shell" that will be in total keeping with the mantra of his campaign from day one, CHANGE. It going to be one of those "jaw-dropping moments" when everyone will be left scrambling for the blackberries trying to out do the other while desperately working to minimize the damage resulting from the "How the hell did you miss this one" reaction amongst the big dogs of the major media. There are hundreds of qualified individuals throughout the political scene who can step up and fit the requirements of a good vp pick for Obama. People everywhere will be saying "Oh, that guy, he's a great VP pick", and then some will say, "Oh yes, I thought about him once". The truth is NO ONE KNEW. There are lots of people to be found in the most unsuspecting places and are willing to join what is looking more and more like a winning campaign. McCain on the other hand, he is having a more difficult time finding someone who should they have any future political or business aspirations wants to seriously consider teaming up with a struggling campaign and a struggling candidate. Oh, McCain will find someone. He'll find someone, just as Bob Dole(war hero)did and George Bush I (war hero) did. However, "all" considered, John McCain's mountain is much higher to climb those guys was and is about to get even higher after this week. He's all hyped up on what he sees as a slam dunk on Saturday night, but I have news for McCain, a friendly, all smiles, sit down, joke and story telling session with a pastor fielding advance notice questions and a favorable audience is no debate. He can only get by with telling the same old POW stories and jokes so many times and he starts looking and sounding like the old man down at the barber shop on Saturday mornings.There is no way McCain can match the vast organization and movement Obama has going. Obama never expected this to be a blow out. He never expected to win them all over, just enough of them and that is exactly what he is doing. Just Enough of them, state by state, voter by voter till he gets to that magic number of 270.

Posted by: cathy | August 18, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

This is now the third decade of the rule of the Republican party by the dark forces. Beginning with Richard Milhouse Nixon, the red party is the party of fear, lies, distortion and anything goes.
McCain is the appropriate inheritor of the dark party. He went on TV on Letterman and lied to us all, and started the war on IRAQ, based on WMDs that did not exist. He said he has a source who KNEW it was the IRAQI"s who did the anthrax attack on Congressional offices. Not true. Just part of the ongoing Bush/McCain program of lies, distortions and the use of fear to win elections. End the "PERMANENT CAMPAIGN" as Scott McClellan rightly identified the red party program. Vote for Obama and end the rule of the Talibani-fundamentalists in the USA. No more torture of 'suspects' by the CIA.

Posted by: Bruce Becker | August 22, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

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