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Senate Democrats praise McDonnell's State of the Union honor

Rosalind Helderman

Some leading Democrats are taking a page from the Bob McDonnell playbook in responding to McDonnell's selection by his party's leaders to give the response to President Obama's State of the Union address.

You might recall that when Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, McDonnell broke ranks from many in his party and offered nothing but praise for Obama. "I'm delighted to see the President of the United States bring honor to our country by receiving the Nobel Peace Prize," candidate-McDonnell said then. The response was considered a smart way to show some bipartisan bonafides and separate his oft-stated critique of Obama-policy from any personal attacks on the president.

Now comes the reaction of Democrats in the state Senate to word that McDonnell has been chosen to lead the opposition to Obama next week.

"This is a great honor for Virginia," said Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax), who had gotten some attention last week for leading successful opposition to McDonnell's appointment of a cabinet secretary who wanted to remain on the boards of several private companies. "What is this for us? Three of the last five responses?" (Correct: McDonnell joins former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) and Sen. Jim Webb to get the national nod.)

"It's good for Virginia to have our governor be on national television that way," said Sen. John S. Edwards (D-Roanoke).

Even the often sharp-tongued Senate majority leader had nothing ill to say about McDonnell's upcoming speech. "That's two governors in a row," said Sen. Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax). "I'm sure he'll do a good job for them."


By Rosalind Helderman  | January 22, 2010; 1:01 PM ET
Categories:  !General Assembly, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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