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Obama, McDonnell, grip and grin in Hampton


How's this for a Virginia image?

President Obama shaking hands with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) on the tarmac at Langley Air Force Base on Sunday before delivering a commencement address at nearby Hampton University, as former Gov. Doug Wilder (D) and U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D) look on.

There's lot of interesting politics going on with this photo.

It's not surprising that Scott would be on hand. He's an Obama supporter and the president was visiting his district.

But the Republican governor is another story. McDonnell's not exactly hugging the president, but after watching Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) essentially be forced from his party's primary for the U.S. Senate after getting photographed with Obama, it was something of a bold move to go to Hampton, where he knew this pic would be snapped.

(Of his attendance, McDonnell told the Daily Press, he's impressed by Obama's call for civility in politics: "That's something that I strive for also.") Count on the photo being clipped, in case McDonnell ever runs for anything that requires winning a Republican primary.

Wilder's presence is also intriguing. For one, we hear he drove out to the event with McDonnell. The two have long been tight -- Wilder's decision to stay out of the gubernatorial race rather than support Democrat Creigh Deeds was seen as a major boost to McDonnell.

But their relationship took a hit in recent weeks, when Wilder was all over national television airwaves blasting McDonnell for issuing a proclamation for Confederate History Month that did not reference slavery. When McDonnell apologized, Wilder was back on TV to vouch for the governor.

Wilder and Obama have had some ups and downs as well. This summer, Wilder was more than happy to tell reporters all about the phone call he received from the president asking that he endorse Deeds. The former governor was not persuaded.

More recently, he penned a column for Politico complaining that Obama was being ill served by his advisers, including Democratic National Committee chairman and former Virginia governor Tim Kaine. And another asked why there were no African Americans on Obama's short list for the Supreme Court.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 10, 2010; 6:30 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Creigh Deeds , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Doesn't Gov. Bob realize he's touched Obama and now has cooties! Let's hope the Tea Party of Virginia doesn't see this photo, but who am I kidding? They don't read the Post.

Posted by: dpcret93 | May 11, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

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