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McDonnell Appears on FOX News Sunday

Anita Kumar

Anyone who thinks FOX News goes easy on Republicans should check out Chris Wallace's interview with Republican Bob McDonnell this morning.

McDonnell faced a barrage of tough questions on FOX News Sunday including: Why did he vote to slash the the governor's opportunity fund if he now supports it? Will he cut education to pay for transportation improvements? Did he introduce any bills to create jobs in his 14 years in the legislature? How does he explain the "radical agenda" he wrote his graduate school thesis 20 years ago?

McDonnell mostly held his own, providing the national audience with many of the same answers he has been giving here in the state during the campaign.

"I've spent a lot of time in my legislative career and as attorney general finding ways to reduce the tax and regulatory burden on folks, to create tax credits for jobs creation -- all of which I think contributed to the real good economic base in Virginia,'' McDonnell said.

Democrat Creigh Deeds had been invited to appear several times, according to Wallace, but declined to participate in what had been set up as a debate. Deeds campaign said he offered to appear alone, but that the show declined.

McDonnell tried to use the the 10-minute appearance to hit Deeds on his plan to raise taxes for transportation, his "deceitful" TV ads and his unwillingness to talk about federal issues, including cap-and-trade legislation and card check.

"My opponent's only solution is to raise billions in new taxes, which is the wrong approach for Virginia,'' McDonnell said.

Wallace, who billed the Virginia race -- one of two governor's contests this year -- as a referendum on President Obama's young presidency, asked why McDonnell's lead in the polls have shrunk.

"It's a competitive state. We've known that for awhile. It's a purple state,'' McDonnell said. "For me to be up by an average of five points right now with 37 days to go we think is a good position."

By Anita Kumar  |  September 27, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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I thought Chris Wallace's questions were tough but fair, and that McDonnell did a fantastic job responding to them.

McDonnell was especially effective at the very end of the interview, when he summed up his positive vision for Virginia.

Posted by: junomoneta88 | September 27, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Deeds should be willing to debate his opponent any time, anywhere. If he isn't, and he clearly isn't, get him outta here..

Posted by: SMWE357 | September 28, 2009 5:11 AM | Report abuse

May be Wapo could try to be more balanced as well. As an independent Virginia viewing this race, it's clear that Wapo's far from balanced. No wonder you're losing home delivery subscribers.

Posted by: letsfroggy1 | September 28, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I think Wallace's questions were tough but fair too and I commend the Washington Post for posting the video. It's hard to figure out the inherent bias that one of the other comments alleges, frankly. I find that the Post seems to be covering the horce race aspect of the campaign fairly: Candidate A did this, Candidate B said this, Candidate A leads Candidate B by this much. The fact that one candidate's name is McDonnell and one's is Deeds almost seems superfluous.

Other than a recent article regarding both candidates' votes in the legislature, I have not found any analysis regarding their records as public officials. Specifically I am interested in learning about Bob McDonnell's record as AG. This was not an insignificant office, it was his only statewide election, and no media outlet is publishing anything about his time there. He was the head of the DSS, the State Police and was the chief law enforcement officer for the Commonwealth. Surely his time as AG is relevant to how he will lead as governor. It would be a shame to learn about this important stage of Bob McDonnell's career after the election. There must be some media outlet that will take the responsibility of reporting on this.

Posted by: Kaufmann_RDW | September 28, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Chris Wallace has never in his career given a tough interview and this was without a doubt staged. McDonnell was over prepared for the so called "tough" questions and any interview of McDonnell that doesn't questions his relationship with Pat Robertson and the cult, The Family isn't tough.

Posted by: xclntcat | September 28, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Why does McDonnell get a chance to appear alone but Deeds is allowed only to appear for a debate?

I do not support that Wallace asked hard questions. The questions were clearly ones that would have been anticipated since they represent what McDonnell has been trying to combat in the state for months. The questions were probably known ahead of time anyway.

McDonnell's responses seemed rehearsed and offered no new information. I do not believe he has transformed or changed his opinions over the years. The man of the thesis is the man of today.

McDonnell dangerous for VA and particularly dangerous for VA's women and girls.

Posted by: vgirl1 | September 28, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh please. Tough interview? Name any part of that interview which wouldn't have been completely expected and prepared for by McDonnell and his staff.

Why is it that Mr. Fair and Square Chris Wallace has McDonnell on all by himself, but will only allow Deeds to appear as part of a debate? Why doesn't Deeds get his own interview and a chance to explain why McDonnell's platitudes about working for solutions (what does that MEAN?) are a crock. Virginia is facing transportation annihilation in about two years. There's almost NO money budgeted for repair of our roads and infrastructure over the next few years, but McDonnell refuses to be honest and admit we need taxes. Instead, he makes ridiculous pie-in-the-sky promises about how much money we can free up from privatizing alcohol sales and "trimming" the fat from a state government considered one of the best-run in the country, but which is facing a catastrophic decrease in revenues from the financial crisis.

This whole thing was a farce. If Wallace wants to show how fair he is then let him bring on Deeds for his own independent one-on-one interview.

Posted by: Lawlady584 | September 28, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

"ONE", somewhat challeging interview does not make FOX NEWS "tough" on Republicans. The so-called "fair and balanced" station is anything but, and blatantly shows its right wing stance every day, 24/7.

Posted by: saywha | September 28, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

"ONE", somewhat challeging interview does not make FOX NEWS "tough" on Republicans. The so-called "fair and balanced" station is anything but, and blatantly shows its right wing stance every day, 24/7.

Posted by: saywha | September 28, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

don't mind all the negative comments about Fox and McDonnell, who I agree did a great job with a tough interview, you will notice the comments getting more negative because this is licked to Huffington Post and all their crazies have come to post.

Posted by: littltlu | September 28, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Kumar, get Harold to explain that this was just an opportunity for McDonnell to explain this and get it behind him. Wallace wasn't at all "tough" on him. Just asked the questions the campaign wants to be done with in a friendly forum.

Posted by: HawkeyeD | September 28, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

That interview reminded me of an informercial with a pitchman and a fake interviewer that feeds pre-arranged "tough" questions. That interview was a gift to McDonnell, Wallace has never been fair or balanced and would have set up an unfair debate had Deeds been there. The worst part is that its pathetic that this article was written that is trying to pretend Wallace was tough on Republicans.

Posted by: LB_SoFlo | September 28, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Another staged Fox program. But at least they didn't include the friendly talk about each other's families before the interview began.

Posted by: taid | September 28, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

"tough" questions , more like a convent lead into boilerplate conservative talking points. The question as to contraceptives for married people... never addressed. The question was put out there. Good as far as things go , but McDonnell gave the typical avoidance and redirection , the issue was never challenged. The tenor of the play was convincing. McDonnell is smooth and sounds even tempered, but he doesn't disavow the extreme ideas from his "Masters Thesis". A Masters isn't a doctorate, but it is more than a High School term paper. His thinking doesn't seem to have changed , rather he is proud of the ideas proffered in his thesis. You know where he stands ... outside of the mainstream.

Posted by: gzillasam1 | September 28, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Does Kumar think her readers are dumb?

This was a staged softball interview designed to look tough and then shame on the WaPo for allowing you to try and further that position

Why can McDonnell appear alone but Deeds can not?
Why didn't Chris Wallace ask about McDonnell's affiliation with Regent U and Pat Robertson's family

Let's see McDonnell go on "The View"
That is a tougher forum than the joke Chris Wallace has allowed himself to become

Shame on you Kumar in trying to tell your readers what to think when it is so clear you have an agenda

Posted by: awb75 | September 28, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Chris Wallace starts the interview with a Lie,,,And Fraud News are more pro McDonnell. This is a political front, and that Hack of a News show is going under. McDonnell is a Lackey of Pat Robertson, who everybody in VA, knows what he is about... This whole interview is a JOKE, McDonnell will lose in NOV. Fraud News is on it's way out, and not soon enough.

Virgina Voters should send McDonnell back to his Mentor Pat Robertson, with a strong Defeat.

Posted by: austininc4 | September 29, 2009 3:19 AM | Report abuse

I'm not going to go into the actual interview, rather I'm just going to point out that producing one interview that's even handed out of everything FOX News has done is hardly evidence that they are fair and balanced.

Besides, in order to be balanced they'd have to spend at least half their time promoting crazy liberal conspiracies, and we all know they're never going to run a story called "9/11 an Inside Job?" and then proceed to go over the theory and never refute it and subtly seem disturbed by it. That's what they do with Obama's birth certificate, I've yet to see them mention that he has released it and proved his birth to the world, nor have I seen them mention that the Hawaiian papers carried his birth announcement the next day.

Tough on Republicans? Maybe sometimes, but not at all like they are with Democrats. Do us a favour and don't insult our intelligence by trying to say otherwise with one ten minute clip to support you out of years of programming.

Posted by: toldu17butilied | September 29, 2009 4:53 AM | Report abuse

The Washington Post has no business commenting on non-biased reporting.

Fred Hiatt's editorial dept has become a neo-con peanut whistle. Selling their soul to the highest bidder at "salons."
A once great newpaper reduced to partisan rubble.

Can't wait till this Weymouth-family rag goes belly-up. You're a disgrace.

Posted by: daveque | September 29, 2009 4:57 AM | Report abuse

What is Chris Wallace's audience share compared to a Hannity or a Beck?

Fox sanctioning one decent interview is rather like John Wayne Gacy's occasionally playing the clown at children's parties.

Posted by: ibsteve2u | September 29, 2009 5:40 AM | Report abuse

I read the opinions expressed in Bob McDonnell's thesis. In my experience, people who are twisted that way don't straighten out, they just learn to lie to cover up the fact that most people, outside of their cult, find the way they think to be repulsive. Why would the people of Virginia, who are not primitive fundamentalists themselves, even consider someone with those values to be governor? I don't get it. Haven't we had enough of unprincipled government run by bigotry and magic opinions? If Chris Wallace thinks this is a tough interview, he should go dig up some old tapes of his father's work. His father's a journalist.

Posted by: JoeyTranchina | September 29, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Come on. Chris Wallace pretended to ask tough questions. Mcdonnell had all the answers. Who is to say this was not planned. This is just a ploy to get Deeds to come for the interview so he can be destroyed on Camera. Fox is fraud... Don't trust anything they do. They take pride is lying and manipulating information.

Posted by: AGAustin | September 29, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

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