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Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 02/22/2011

McDonnell doesn't rule out vice presidential run

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Tuesday morning he would run for vice president on the Republican ticket in 2012 if asked, but that he was not seeking it out.

"I don't know what's going to happen in 2012, we don't even have a candidate yet on our team," he said on WTOP radio. "I'm not expecting a call. I'm expecting to be governor of Virginia for three years."

McDonnell appeared on the hour-long program dubbed Hands Across the Potomac with Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D).

O'Malley, the new chairman of the Democratic Governors Association whose national profile has been on the rise since his November reelection, quickly said he would not entertain the possibility (though unless President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden don't plan to run for re-election next year, there's not much he can run for until he leaves the Governor's Mansion in four years anyway).

"I am ruling it out. I have no interest,'' he said. "No possibility I will pursue any higher office."

The interview came days after he told a Richmond radio station that he would "probably" serve if asked.

McDonnell, who has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate, had repeatedly said he is not interested in running for president or vice president and has every intention of filling out his term as governor, which ends January 2014.

But his regular appearances on network shows have increased following last year's response to President Obama's State of the Union address and his election as vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

He dined Saturday with former Minnesota governor and possible Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty in Richmond -- fueling speculation McDonnell that has national ambitions.

"Anybody that got asked that obviously would consider it an honor, but I'm not expecting that," McDonnell said. "I'm not looking for it."

Democrats immediately hit back, saying he reversed his position.

"It looks like when he said repeatedly that he will serve his full term, the governor was either being untruthful or he's since had a change of heart," said David Mills, executive director of the Democratic Party of Virginia. "While I don't understand why he would leave his work here unfinished to join a ticket with Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney, at least he's finally being clear about his intentions."

By Anita Kumar  | February 22, 2011; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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