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McDonnell on Sunday morning talk shows

Anita Kumar

Virginia Gov.-Elect Bob McDonnell fielded questions on a pair of Sunday morning talk shows about what his landslide victory Tuesday taught Republicans nationwide about running -- and winning.

"Stick to your conservative principles and focus on the quality-of life-issues,'' McDonnell told host Chris Wallace on FOX News Sunday.

McDonnell said he focused on local and state issues, such as jobs and traffic, and a handful of federal issues that residents were concerned about, including the cap-and-trade and card check bills pending in Congress.

He also told CNN's State of the Union with John King that it was important to keep a positive message and focus on results. "I think if we do that Republicans have bright days ahead," he said.

In answer to questions from both hosts, McDonnell said he would not shy away from social issues but that they would not be his top focus. He gave us a similar answer in the days after his election.

"I've got to focus on creating jobs, improving the economy and managing this budget,'' he told Wallace. "That's what people overwhelmingly elected me to do and that's going to be my focus.''

McDonnell did reiterate his opposition to abortion and his support for expanding the death penalty when asked, but again said he would focus on the kitchen table issues he talked about in his campaign.

"I'm pro-life. I'm pro-family. I'm going to support those issues in the General Assembly but I'm going to focus on getting results on those campaign promises,'' he said.

McDonnell appeared on both shows the day after the House's passage of the healthcare bill.

"My concern is just from hearing from Virginians over the last couple of months is the increase in cost, less choices, perhaps longer waiting lines, and more government control,'' he said. "Families and businesses in Virginia told me they're very concerned about those, taking money from Medicare, maybe $400 billion...The public option does not seem to be something that is going to help us in Virginia."

News shows have been clamoring to sign McDonnell up for interviews after his stunning win Tuesday over Democrat Creigh Deeds. But McDonnell chose to take a few days off and spend it with his family.

Ed Gillespie, a Republican strategist who served as general chairman of McDonnell's campaign, appeared on NBC's Meet the Press this morning and touted McDonnell's strategy as one that appealed to independent voters.

"It was a very smart model,'' he said. "I hope Republicans take a look at that, new idea- driven campaigns that appeal to those centrist voters in the middle."

By Anita Kumar  |  November 8, 2009; 10:53 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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