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McDonnell reacts to invitation to deliver State of the Union address response

Anita Kumar

U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner invited Gov. Bob McDonnell to give the response to the State of the Union address while the two men were attending an inaugural dinner at Mount Vernon on Jan. 9.

"It is an honor to be chosen by our Republican congressional leaders to deliver the address,'' McDonnell told us in a statement. "I look forward to discussing positive solutions to our shared challenges. That's what we ran on in the campaign, and it's what we are now busy implementing here in Richmond. It will be an idea-driven address focused on solving problems and getting results."

McDonnell will be the third Virginian to deliver a response to the State of the Union address in the past five years when he delivers it next Wednesday. Former governor Tim Kaine (D) gave it in 2006. U.S. Sen. Jim Webb (D) gave it in 2007.

In Richmond, most Democrats were careful not to criticize McDonnell for a task that their own governor and now party leader took on just four years ago. But Virginia Democratic Party Chairman C. Richard Cranwell questioned the timing of a partisan speech, as McDonnell needs to work with both parties to solve a potential $4.2 billion budget shortfall in the coming weeks.

"Under different economic times, I might say go ahead,'' he said. "Given the daunting task ahead, it will take all of us, working together."

See below for the joint statement from Boehner (Ohio) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), who selected McDonnell:

Boehner cited McDonnell's leadership on the economy and solutions to create jobs and put Virginians back to work:

"As the American people continue to ask, 'where are the jobs,' Gov. McDonnell has offered common-sense economic policies in stark contrast to Washington Democrats' job-killing agenda,'' he said. "We don't need a government takeover of health care or a 'cap-and-trade' national energy tax - we need a common-sense plan to help middle-class families and small businesses and allow them to keep more of what they earn so they can save, invest, and hire."

McConnell said the governor understands the frustration of Americans and is a leader who offers common sense solutions.

"Gov. McDonnell understands that the American people are more interested in shrinking unemployment than expanding government,'' he said. "He is an impressive public servant and an excellent choice to offer Republican solutions for our country."

By Anita Kumar  |  January 21, 2010; 7:16 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , James Webb , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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