McDonnell: Palin and I share values
Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell said today that he "admires" former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and that he shares her conservative philosophy of governing.
"She's a bright new face for the Republican party and has generated tremendous enthusiasm because of her defense of conservative principles and I admire that,'' he told 60 reporters and editors at the annual AP Day at the Capitol in Richmond. "Governor Palin certainly was a very popular governor of Alaska during her term."
McDonnell denied that he distanced himself from Palin during his gubernatorial campaign, even though that's exactly what Palin's spokeswoman told us he did. Palin adviser Meg Stapleton has said McDonnell repeatedly and personally asked the former vice presidential candidate for help this summer, but by late August he no longer wanted her assistance.
McDonnell said today that Palin did not come to Virginia because she was in such high demand. "Early on we were hoping we might be able to get her to come but she was in such incredible demand,'' he said. "She didn't leave Alaska very much."
He said the one time she was scheduled to attend an event for him -- a Republican Governors Association fundraising dinner on his behalf -- Palin canceled because of severe flooding in Alaska. Her husband, Todd, attended the event instead.
McDonnell and his campaign never mentioned Sarah Palin's cancellation or Todd Palin's participation in all the months reporters have been asking them about Palin. He mentioned it today during an hour-long discussion at an event sponsored by the Associated Press, the Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association and the Society of Professional Journalists.
McDonnell said he didn't purposely exclude Palin from the long list of national GOP figures who helped him.
"Once we got in the home stretch of the campaign we pretty much had kind of the idea of who we needed and had people who were willing to come and help us and it was primarily the current Republican governors -- Haley Barbour, Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal and others,'' McDonnell said. "It wasn't really anything about Sarah Palin other than we already had a lot of people willing to help us."
Perhaps McDonnell has forgotten he campaigned with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney during the last week of the campaign.
December 8, 2009; 5:16 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Sarah Palin
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