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McDonnell Responds to Democrats' Attack

Anita Kumar

Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert F. McDonnell accused the Democratic Party of Virginia of duping more than 50 local leaders into attacking him by providing them with false information about his stance on the stimulus package.

Last week, on a conference call organized by the Democratic party, the leaders called on McDonnell to pledge he would accept the federal stimulus package, but McDonnell had already said he would accept the money if elected governor.

"I am sorry the Democratic Party of Virginia leadership in Richmond gave you erroneous information, and asked you to launch an attack unsupported by the facts,'' McDonnell wrote in a letter to local leaders today. "Certainly every campaign should be characterized by full, open, and vigorous debate over the policy issues of the day. But when a political party ignores widely available public information in order to score political points that is not responsible. I am sure you did not appreciate being put out publicly in support of an assertion that was false."

Jared Leopold, a spokesman for the Democratic party, said McDonnell said he opposed to the stimulus package several times in February, claiming it would be bad "long-term for America" and said the best way to create opportunity and jobs is "not stimulus."

"Bob McDonnell's earlier statements clearly indicate that he was against President Obama's stimulus package,'' Leopold said. "McDonnell applauded House Republicans for saying no to President Obama's plan, and he said he wouldn't balance Virginia's budget with the stimulus money. Does Bob McDonnell still stand by the statements he made saying that 'we shouldn't balance the budget of Virginia' using stimulus funds? Or has he changed his mind?"

McDonnell wrote in the letter that he thinks the stimulus bill was hastily written and not the best combination of spending and tax cuts to stimulate the economy and create jobs but that he would not "deny the taxpayers of Virginia the federal funding that they and their children are paying for."

McDonnell encouraged the local leaders to call his campaign office if they wanted to know about his position on the issues.

"As local officials, we are concerned because Bob McDonnell has repeatedly come out against President Obama's stimulus plan','' Alexandria Mayor William Euille said today. "Our cities and counties desperately need these stimulus funds to keep us from cutting law enforcement, health care and other local programs. But, Bob McDonnell said we shouldn't balance Virginia's budget with the stimulus funds and that Obama's plan would 'be bad long-term for America.' I hope Mr. McDonnell understands why we were concerned about these anti-stimulus statements, and we look forward to receiving his response about how he would balance Virginia's budget."

By Anita Kumar  |  March 4, 2009; 8:05 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Terry McAuliffe  
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The arguments presented by the Democrats are, as usual, apples and oranges. While Bob McDonnell was not happy about the way the package was put together and the contents of the final bill, as was the case for many, he has never indicated he would not support Virginia's taxpayers by refusing the money they are paying for. He has done quite the opposite, stating that while it is not the package he would have written, he will help the Commonwealth by ensuring Virginians get the stimulus dollars promised in the package. There is so much spending in the package that is not stimulus that it is hard to argue with Bob McDonnell's disagreement with the package itself. It should have been more focused on actual stimulus and less on programs, that while important in their own right, would have been better placed in the regular budget bills. It seems to me that Alexandria's Mayor has enough on his plate to not allow himself to engage in petty partisan politics with poor arguments that do not accurately portray a candidates position on an issue. Although with only Democrats on the council, it is not surprising where the loyalties of Alexandria's current leadership lies.

Posted by: DaveCheney | March 5, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

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