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BET co-founder Johnson talks up McDonnell as 'presidential material'

Although Virginia's new governor, Robert F. McDonnell, has barely had time to settle into the executive mansion, if he's thinking of moving into a bigger, whiter house someday, he already has an influential and wealthy backer behind him.

As an honored guest at the First Lady's Luncheon, Sheila C. Johnson, the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, presented Maureen McDonnell with a framed painting of all Republican presidents.

"I'm just looking ahead to the future," she said, to whoops and applause in the Omni hotel's ballroom. "This is for whatever room they're going to hang this in, so he can start studying this and preparing."

Afterwards, Johnson elaborated on her belief that McDonnell, 55, has the right stuff.

"I think he is presidential material. I really do," Johnson said. "I think Bob McDonnell represents all that is good in this country. I really do. I've been around a lot of politicians and thousands and thousands of people, and there's something very special about this man. I knew it from the moment I saw him and interviewed him for the primary election. And once the primaries were over, and I saw him again, that's when I made the leap that I did. It was a big leap. And I tell you I knew from the bottom of my heart."

Johnson's endorsement of McDonnell in the gubernatorial campaign played a key role in hammering down the support of moderates, some blacks and members of the business

Maureen McDonnell spoke of her experience the attendees that, as the daughter, daughter-in-law, wife, and mother of military veteran, she would devote her time as first lady to issues of concern to Virginia's military family.

--Fredrick Kunkle

By Anne Bartlett  |  January 17, 2010; 4:24 PM ET
Categories:  Fredrick Kunkle , Robert F. McDonnell  
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I had similar thoughts about McDonnell yesterday after he released plans to solve the state's employment crisis. This is something our president has barely addressed, even though the recession was in full swing before he took office. Obama had an "FDR moment" that only happens about once every 50 years – and totally blew it.

Posted by: SandwichMan | January 17, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"Johnson's endorsement of McDonnell in the gubernatorial campaign played a key role in hammering down the support of moderates, some blacks and members of the business
community. "

Really? And you know this how?

Posted by: anonymous2006x | January 17, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

johnson is a black lady that has made her fortune off the poisoning of the black culture with BET...she should be ashamed of the junk they produce and pump into the black community....she is a bigger enemy to blacks than whitey could ever be.

Posted by: californicationdude | January 18, 2010 6:17 AM | Report abuse


You know what makes your argument that Obama has blown it more political than true? Its because he hasn't been in office for 12 months and you were declaring him a failure in less than six months. If republicans were not soo politically jumpy to lable him instead of allowing his policies to define him your statements might have a little more validity. But for now you sound like whiney losers constantly in 2012 campaign mode too impatient to let time pass and too afraid that Obama may end up doing a good job cleaning up republican messes that you are shooting your load at him the first year in office. Political premature ejaculation. In regards to McDonald I think he would make a great republican presidential candidate providing he does a good job in VA as governor. If he has Mark Warner success I would make him the face of the GOP over the stale and phoney me first people that is currently the face of the party. If you stick with people like Romney and Palin you make still pick up seats in congress in 2010 based on incombent backlash but no one will take wacky Palin or plastic 24/7 presidential campaign mode Romney seriously to change back to the party that has fought change for the sake of politics.

Posted by: ged0386 | January 18, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Its a shame when our president must fail in order for the GOP to be successful. A good political candidate does not need to run against a total failure just to win an election. Good Ideas and good policy prevails over dome and gloom labels and negative campaigning. The GOP still think they can negative their way back to leadership. Your bad policy is what got you voted out of leadership. Only good ideas and good policy will get you back in, not stoping President Obama in succeeding at anything. That not only hurts the president but it hurts the country which is way more important. Gas is rising and headed back towards 4 bucks but we are such a divided country politically that taking on a new energy bill right now would start a civil war. Anytime health care reform resulted in angry white men at town hall meetings with loaded guns. Congrads to the GOP, you are doing a great job at stoping Obama from making any needed changes. You should be proud as a political party. As american citizens I am not sure if you should be soo proud.

Posted by: ged0386 | January 18, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"I think he is presidential material..."
Not if the WaPo has anything to say about it.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | January 18, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if he'll be a good governor, but I don't think he has a lot of charisma, personally. And for today's society and political climate, that's seen as a must. He also seems like a guy who's had high political aspirations for a very long time and that could been seen as a good or bad thing depending on who you are.

Posted by: michigannn | January 18, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

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