Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a potential vice presidential pick for GOP nominee Mitt Romney, admitted Sunday morning President Barack Obama deserved slight credit for helping his state survive the economic crisis.
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” as a surrogate for the presumptive GOP nominee, Gov. McDonnell said that federal assistance helped Virginia in the short term.
“Did it help us in the short run with health care and education spending to balance the budget? Sure. Does it help us in the long term to really cut the unemployment rate? I'd say no. But we have done a lot of things,” he said.
McDonnell, acknowledging his state has the lowest unemployment rate in the Southeast, said just to imagine, however, “how much better we'd do if we had President Romney.”
Two days before Wisconsin voters will decide whether to recall Gov. Scott Walker, McDonnell – who is also the chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association -- expressed his confidence that Walker would prevail. That vote, McDonnell pointed out, has similarities with the upcoming presidential election in November.
“It's going to be the same thing with Romney and Obama. As you put policies in place, were they controversial? Sure. Does it take guts and leadership to tell people we can't afford to do these things anymore and we need to change to be more competitive in Wisconsin? Sure. But (Walker has) done it. Now he's getting the results,” McDonnell said. “And that's why he's going to win -- people that might not have liked the reforms are seeing that they're working.”
In typical fashion this cycle, the Virginia governor did not give a straight answer when asked if he was being vetted by Gov. Romney as a possible No. 2.
“They have asked for my schedule to see where I can help them next, and it's going to be in Virginia,” McDonnell said. But when asked whether the Romney campaign has specifically asked for any vice president papers, he dodged: “No, I'll leave all that up to Mitt Romney. But I'm going to help him win Virginia.”
Gov. McDonnell will speak at the end of the week in Chicago at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference.