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Updated: McDonnell takes staff on retreat

Anita Kumar

Virginia's incoming governor Bob McDonnell is taking his staff to James Madison's Montpelier in Orange today for a day-long retreat.

About 20 people are expected to attend, including Lt. Bill Bolling, McDonnell's picks for Cabinet secretaries and senior staffers. Two secretaries will be missing -- health and education -- who have yet to be named.

Speakers include former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato (who also spoke at a retreat McDonnell held when he was attorney general).

McDonnell's campaign, which pays the salaries of transition staffers, also will pick up the tab of the retreat. Spokesman J. Tucker Martin said he did not have an estimate of the cost.

As many Virginia political watchers may know, McDonnell grew up near Mount Vernon and considers George Washington one of his political heros. So why is the 71st governor giving short shrift to the nation's first president today?

"The Govenor-elect thinks the home of the father of the constitution is a perfect place in which to prepare for the honor of governing Virginia,'' Martin said.

By Anita Kumar  |  January 7, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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