Romney-McDonnell: White House 2012 Looks at the Potential for Bob McDonnell Being Nominated Vice President

Bookmark and Share The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious potential names for Mitt Romney to choose from when picking his vice presidential nominee.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe will at least be considered for for the vice presidency by the now inevitable Republican presidential nominee.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Mitt Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites and records.

Today White House 2012 takes a look at the Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell.

Born Robert Francis McDonnell (1954-06-15) June 15, 1954 (age 57) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican Party
Spouse(s) Maureen Gardner; 5 children
Residence Executive Mansion
Alma mater University of Notre Dame (B.B.A.) Boston University (M.B.A.) Regent University (M.A., J.D.)
Profession United States Army Officer Businessman Attorney at Law Politician
Religion Roman Catholic

`

Political Career:

  • 1992 – 2005:  Virginia House of Delegates
  • 2006 – 2009:  Virginia State Attorney General
  • 2010 – Present:  Governor of Virginia
  • 2011 -Present:  Chairman of the Republican Governors Association

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Bookmark and Share  During a February 21st, 2011 television interview, when asked“What if the party’s nominee.. came to you and said for the betterment of your Party and your country, I need you to serve as my running mate. Wouldn’t that be a difficult thing for you to turn down?” McDonnell replied simply, “Probably.”  Thus prompting White House 2012 to add Bob McDonnell to what was an already early and premature list of possible running mates for whoever the nominee was going to be that we first created and posted in December 0f 2010.  You see, even back then, there were certain outstanding individuals who many understood, were natural and logical potential vice presidential nominees, simply because they were exceptional leaders.

Today, with Mitt Romney’s selection of a vice presidential nominee soon approaching, McDonnell is still a natural and logical choice for Mitt Romney to nominate  for Vice President.

Bob McDonnell is a solid choice. He carries little baggage, is on the right side of all the issues that the G.O.P. base wants covered and is a strong speaker who would add a level of confidence and competence to the ticket. The greatest criticism might be that he has only been Governor for what at the time will be slightly over 2 in a half years. But Barack Obama was a Senator for less than that amount of time and it was good enough to elect him President. So for a Vice President , that should be no big deal, even though it seemed to have been a big issue when Sarah Palin was nominated for Vice President in 2008..

McDonnell’s establishing himself as a potential Vice President and ultimately maybe even President, did not come over night.  Getting to that point was a journey through decades of personal growth and accomplishments that really began after he graduated from University of Notre Dame on an ROTC scholarship, with a B.B.A. in management.

Upon leaving Notre Dame in 1976, McDonnell  joined the service where he served as a medical supply officer in the United States Army for four years.  Two and half of those years included posts in medical clinics in Germany, and for a year a half, in Newport News, Virginia.   During that time, McDonnell’s never ending drive for knowledge and self improvement compelled him to obtain a Masters of Science in Business Administration earned  by taking night classes from Boston University.

Upon leaving active duty service in 1981, McDonnell continued his military service as a reservist in the U.S. Army but as for a regular job, he took his young family to Atlanta where he was hired for a Fortune 500 Company named American Hospital Supply Corporation.  His work soon earned him a rapid succession  of promotions and after a year, American Hospital Supply Corp. transferred McDonnell to the company’s headquarters in suburban Chicago. The following year they put McDonnell in charge of their multi-million dollar custom  products regional division, based in Kansas City, where he managed the corporation’s  Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Kansas  City offices.   But feeling personally unfulfilled by his work, McDonnell took advantage of his Vietnam-era G.I. Bill benefits that were to cease to exist in 1989, and decided to to go back to Virginia where he enrolled in Regent University in Virginia Beach to seek a Masters Degree in Public  Policy.  Then when the young university opened a law school, McDonnell took advantage of that to also obtain a law degree.

To say the least, it was a rather hectic and sleepless period in McDonnell’s life.  Others may not have been able to carry the burden of  simultaneously attending  law school, while pursing a Master’s Degree in  public policy, and doing so while supporting his family  as a sales manager for The  Virginian-Pilot newspaper, and serving in the active reserves of the Army with the 18th Field Hospital in Norfolk. In total,  McDonnell would serve 21 years in the U.S.  Army reserves until he finally retired as a Lt. Colonel, the same rank as his father, in 1997.  During these years, part of McDonnell’s pursuit of his law degree led him to also do an internship on Capitol  Hill with the House Republican Policy Committee for California Congressman Jerry Lewis, and it was here that McDonnell’s personal journey took him in a direction different than his previous private sector path.

So in 1989, with his degrees in hand, McDonnell took a job as a prosecutor in the Virginia  Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and in 1991 he ran for the seat representing Virginia Beach in the House of Delegates from the 84th District. He won and was reelected to the seat, six more times.

Here, as was the case with every other position and job McDonnell took responsibility for, he excelled.

Some of the  most prominent bills he drafted, sponsored and shepherded through the state legilature included Virginia’s historic Welfare Reform legislation, the reform of  Virginia’s drunk driving laws, legislation to abolish the death tax and to rewrite and improve  Virginia’s Public Private Partnership Transportation Act.  He was all the prime sponsor of Governor Allen’s Juvenile Justice Reform  Initiative.

In short time McDonnell rose through the House of Delegate’s political ranks and became Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman  of the House Courts of Justice Committee and along the way, in 1996 he was named the Network of Victims of Crime Legislator  of the Year in 1996.  In 1998 he was named The National Child Support Enforcement Association National  Legislator of the Year and  The Family Foundation of Virginia’s Legislator  of the Year.  He was again named The Family Foundations’ Legislator of the Year  in 2001, and in 2005  he received the honor of becoming the Virginia Sheriff’s Association Legislator  of the Year.

Then in 2006, McDonnell decided to run for Attorney General and after election results that were initially disputed, he was declared the winner by 323 votes.

As Attorney General of Virginia, McDonnell went right to work.  He established a “Senior Alert” to assist in locating missing seniors  with mental deficiencies, created a state of the art Sex Offender Registry, strengthened Virginia’s mental  health laws, and provided new tools for law enforcement involved in online investigations of  identity theft, sexual predators, and other 21st Century criminals. McDonnell  also created and led Virginia’s Youth Internet Safety Task Force, which was credited with improving online  safety, and establishing the ongoing Attorney General’s Task Force on Regulatory  and Government Reform. That task force made over 300 recommendations to  streamline Virginia’s Administrative Code, and reduce burdensome government  regulation.

But in 2009, McDonnell resigned as Attorney General in order to spend all his time and effort on running for Governor, a job he won in a landslide which saw him receive more votes than any candidate for  Governor in Virginia history.  McDonnell’s landslide also helped to sweep many new Republicans in to the Virginia state legislature.

Upon becoming Governor, McDonnell inherited a $6 billion deficit but in a year’s time he turned it in to a $400 million surplus.  And he did so after defeating a proposed $2 billion increase in the state income tax, and keeping the state’s existing car tax relief.

But perhaps the most profound immediate positive impact McDonnell has had was his ability to in less trhan two years, take Virginia’s unemployment from 7.2% to 5.6% after creating 111,900 new jobs in the state.

All this is probably why in 2011, McDonnell’s Republican colleagues chose him to be the Chairman of the Republican Governors Association.  It is also one of the reasons why Bob McDonnell is seen as an obvious choice for Vice President.

Pros:

  • McDonnell is a skilled campaigner and legislator whose talents can only help the ticket
  • “If” this a close presidential election, Virginia is a state that Romney must win in any formula that allows him to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to take the White House.  Bob McDonnell can deliver Virginia to the Republican column
  • McDonnell can help Romney among evangelicals who he needs to cast their ballots for him in record numbers.
  • McDonnell can help Romney in the South where he needs bridge the enthusiasm gap that exists for Romney
  • McDonnell’s record on jobs, energy, budgets, and deficits is an invaluable asset that will help draw sharp contrasts with Obama’s record
  • His experience in law and law enforcement, and on matters concerning the Constitution is unparalleled by most other likely contenders for the vice presidency and it helps to call in to question the credentials of the Obama Administration concerning ther Adminsistrations many legal challenges to states and their sovereignty

Cons:

  • McDonnell’s addition to the ticket does not bring the type of diversity which other potential candidates like Marco Rubio, Condoleezza Rice or Susana Martinez can, and that diversity might be needed to help win in key battlegrounds states like Ohio and/or Florida
  • McDonnell signed an executive order removing anti-discriminatory protection for gays and lesbians in Virginia, rescinding a 2006 order from Gov. Kaine which had prohibited discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.  This will mobilize liberal gay activists to the point where they may get some mileage from attempts to paint McDonnell and by natural extension, the Republican ticket,  as out of touch, right wing extremists
  • Governor McDonnell issued a proclamation designating April 2010 as Confederate History Month and the initial proclamation left out any anti-slavery language.  McDonnell rectified this  but the issue is one which the left may try to exploit
  • McDonnell signed in to law a measure that mandates ultra sounds for pregnant women seeking an abortion.  The measure came after McDonnell initially supported an earlier bill requiring  women to get an intravaginal ultrasound before an abortion procedure
  • Lacks any immediate foreign affairs experience

General Assessment:

McDonnell has his fingerprints are all over the solutions to the most critical problems ailing the nation. On an issue such as energy, he has led the way in making Virginia an national resource for natural energy with his support drilling for oil off of the coast of Virginia while simultaneously developing new technologies for wind, solar, biomass, and other renewable energy resources and expanding investments in renewable energy sources while also incentivizing  green job creation.  On the issue of jobs, CNBC named Virginia “The Top State for Business” in the country and while the nation has been focussed on not counting the number of people who have dropped out of the job market, since taking office McDonnell has has created 112,00 net new jobs and the number of unemployed Virginians has decreased by 21%.  That’s  a reduction in unemployment obtained by counting new jobs not by stopping to count the number of people who gave up looking for jobs.

On budgetary matters, while the nation lost its AAA bond rating, and the deficit has ballooned at an unprecendented rate, McDonnell took his state from one with a record deficit, to where now each year he has been in office, it has a surplus.

As one newspaper put it On those issues important to  all – taxation, jobs, schools, – Bob McDonnell did not disappoint.  “Priorities were set and addressed.”  And that is exactly what people want in a Republican presidential ticket and why McDonnell is only a logical choice.

However Mitt Romney may find that he can select others who have similarly positive but are more established.  Like Indiana’s Mitch Daniels.  Or that he could find some of similar accomplishments but unlike McDonnell, could also bring diversity to the ticket.  Names like Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and New Mexico’s Susana Martinez come to mind.

Romney may also want to try to get someone whose record lacks the type of controversial social issue positions that McDonnell has brought to the table.  The thinking there is that Romney does not want to give President Obama and the left, the opportunity to focus on things will distract from the G.O.P.’s ability to get voters to focus on the Obama record and the Obama economy.    With McConnell’s decisions regarding things like issuing a proclamation designating a Confederate History Month,   removing so-called anti-discriminatory protections from  gays and lesbians, and the decision mandating ultrasounds before a women has an abortion, Romney may fear that McDonnell could be “Palinized” and that those issues will can become the distraction that Democrats want.  But such can be done with the record of any conservative.  Or liberal for that matter.

So it is hard to say with any certainty that Romney will tap McDonnell for Vice President.  But you can bet that McDonnell’s name is one of the top five on the short list for the job.

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Recent Key Votes

Legislation  (Veto)  – April 9, 2012
Legislation  (Veto) – April 9, 2012
Legislation  (Veto) – April 9, 2012

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Bob McDonnell on the Issues

Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Civil Rights
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Health Care Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Technology Corporations Welfare & Poverty
Energy & Oil Environment Jobs Principles & Values

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A Most Likely Vice Presidential Nominee: White House 2012 Looks at Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Bookmark and Share   The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious potential choices to be selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one the many Republicans which we believe will be at least considered for for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to a biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Mitt Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 takes a look at Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

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Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Born: June 10, 1971 (1971-06-10) Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Spouse(s): Supriya Jindal

Children :Selia Elizabeth , Shaan Robert, Slade Ryan

Residence :Louisiana’s Governor’s Mansion, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Alma mater:Brown University, University of Oxford

Profession:Former President of the University of Louisiana, Business Consultant

Religion: Roman Catholic

Political Career :

  • In 1996 at the age of 25, Jindal became the state’s youngest Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals after being appointed to the position by then Governor Mike Foster. The agency represented about 40% of the state budget and employed over 12,000 people. During his tenure, Louisiana’s Medicaid program went from bankruptcy with a $400 million deficit into three years of surpluses totaling $220 million.
  • In 1999, at the request of the Louisiana Governor’s Office and the Louisiana State Legislature, Jindal volunteered his time to study how Louisiana might use its $4.4 billion share of a tobacco settlement. Also in 1999, at only 28 years of age, Jindal was appointed to become the youngest-ever president of the University of Louisiana System, the nation’s 16th largest system of higher education with over 80,000 students per year.
  • In March 2001 he was nominated by President George W. Bush to be Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Planning and Evaluation.He was later unanimously confirmed by a vote of the United States Senate and began serving on July 9, 2001. In that position, he served as the principal policy advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.He resigned from that post on February 21, 2003, to return to Louisiana and run for governor.
  • 2003. Jindal ran for Governor.In its open Primary, he finished first with 33% of the vote. He went on to run in the gubernatorial runoff against the second place winner of the open primary, Democrat Kathleen Blanco. Blanco won the election with 52% of the vote and despite losing her home district to Jindal.
  • A few weeks after the 2003 gubernatorial runoff, Jindal decided to run for Louisiana’s 1st congressional district. The incumbent, David Vitter, was running for the Senate seat being vacated by John Breaux. He won the 2004 Election for that seat with 78 percent of the vote.
  • 2006, Jindal secured reelection to Congress with an overwhelming 88 percent of the vote.
  • 2007, Jindal announced his candidacy for governor. In what was a crowded field in the open primary process of Louisiana, Jindal defeated eleven opponents and received 699,672 votes or 54 % of the vote.Having exceeded the 50% mark it was the first time that a non-incumbent candidate for governor was elected without a runoff under the Louisiana election system.
  • In 2011, Jindal won a remarkable election to a second consecutive term, In Louisiana Candidates of any and all parties are listed on one ballot in what is called a jungle primary. Unless one candidate takes more than 50% of the vote in the first round, the general election in  November is a run-off election that is held between the top two vote getters in the primary, In the October 2011 gubernatorial primary,  Jindal received 65.80 of the vote against nine other opponents.

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Bobby Jindal is considered one of the most energetic, effective, successful, popular, and conservative Governors in America.  He has led Louisiana through natural and manmade disasters, balanced budgets, cut taxes, reduced spending, improved education, and developed and applied innovative new solutions to old problems.  In Congress he established himself as an earnest and knowledgable legislator  and successfully shepherded through Congress a number of critical  pieces of legislation and played an instrumental role in Louisiana’s recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Other such accomplishments included the passage of legislation to bring significant offshore energy revenues to Louisiana for the first time and legislation that till this day, keeps the Federal Emergency Management Agency from taxing certain recovery grants as income.

In 2007 the people of Louisiana found him so superior to other leaders, that when it came time to nominate their two candidates for Governor in their unique runoff election system, they gave Jindal such a wide margin of victory that it became unnecessary to hold a general election.  In other words, Louisiana voters did not doubt for one moment that they wanted Bobby Jindal to continue on as their Governor.  In the October 2011 primary for Governor, Jindal again won by a margin so wide that there was no need for a general election.  In 2007 he won 60 of the state’s 64 Parishes and and 53.91% of the vote against 1o opponents.  In the 2011 primary he won all 64 Parishes and 65.80% of the vote against 9 other opponents.

So not only is Jindal admired and trusted, he is a solid vote getter.  But not all of America is like Louisiana, so how would Jindal do outside of the South?

The answer is probably very well.

His message of fiscal conservatism and well grounded view of how to solve our nation’s problems are often well received, which is why in the 2010 midterm elections, Bobby Jindal was in great demand in states holding their own elections for governor, such as Wisconsin, Ohio, and Iowa.  He was also a popular campaigner for many winning U.S. Senate candidates throughout the nation.

For all these reasons, Governor Jindal, like Marco Rubio, is a surefire name for any Republican presidential candidate’s vice presidential shortlist.  But also like Marco Rubio, Jindal is not likely to want to accept a vice presidential nomination.

As is the case with Nikki Haley, Jindal’s Indian-American background has a unique appeal to the minority Indian-American community in the United States but while that community has numbers large enough to be of influence in states like New York and New Jersey, it is still not as large a minority community as the Hispanic voting bloc that can influence the results in many other states and which can be tapped in to with the likes of Rubio, Susana Martinez, Brian Sandoval, or Luis Fortuno.  However; based purely on talent, ability, and competence, Jindal is unmatched and therefore can not be left off of any legitimate list of very possible candidates for Vice President.

Still though, Jindal’s superiority as a leader is undeniable and that coupled with several other factors make him a very likely choice for Mitt Romney.

When it comes to the more shallow aspects of politics, Jindal’s Indian-American background adds a certain degree of spice to an already bland Romney ticket.  The diversity that Jindal’s presence on the ticket would bring can go much further than the vanilla flavoring that a waspy Tim Palwenty, or John Thune deliver.  So the benefit of diversity is there.

Other very beneficial electoral benefits of a Jindal vice presidential nomination include his strong Southern support.  Southerners trust Jindal, and while Republicans are not likely to lose the South anytime soon, if Mitt Romney is going to win in  November, he will need to bring out the Republican base in record numbers.  That means he needs to get Southerners who do not quite trust him yet, a reason to trust him.  Jindal might be just the reason.

A tertiary benefit to Jindal’s joining Romney on the ticket, is the Gulf oil spill, or as we as all remember it to more accurately be…… the non-stop Obama Gulf oil gusher.

While the Obama Administration does not want us to remember that Summer in 2009 that was suppose to be the “Summer of Recovery” but wasn’t, as Governor of Louisiana Jindal’s presence on the ticket will act as a convenient way to exploit that debacle and use it against the President.  The Gulf oil disaster was the epitome of government inefficiency and as Governor of the coastal state affected by that disaster most, Jindal is the best person to explain why.  He will be able to explain that instead of being a help, the federal government was a hinderance that prevented him and the people of Louisiana from doing what they could to protect their shores and defend their livelihoods.  And the whole incident exemplifies the corporate cronyism of the Obama Administration which gave BP, the operators and owners of the rig that exploded, a safety award shortly after they donated a million dollars to the Obama campaign and not long before the rig that received that award, exploded.

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Pros:

  • Jindal can help firm up Romney’s standing in the South where Romney is viewed is quite skeptically
  • Jindal will excite the conservative base that is unenthusiastic about Romeny and which Romney needs to turn out in record numbers if he wants to win
  • Jindal has great command of the issues
  • Is experienced in several area of importance in the 2011, including health and healthcare
  • Has no excessive baggage or skeletons in his closet
  • Is well received by Independents
  • Adds a degree of history and diversity to the ticket

Cons:

  • Jindal does lack foreign affairs credentials.  But Romney doesn’t.
  • Jindal is not viewed as an exceptional speaker and his lackluster performance in the Republican response to President Obama’s 2009 State of the Union address will initially hound him
  • Jindal does not bring to the ticket the electoral college of any of the key battleground states that could make the difference between winning and losing the White House in 2012

General Assessment:

All things considered,  Bobby Jindal is one of the most likely and logical choices for Mitt Romney to nominate for Vice President.  Jindal is inoffensive to most people on either the left or right, is well received by the all important Independent voters, has never been a political lighting rod and is probably one of the safest choices he could make and safe is something that Romney really likes.

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Recent Key Votes

HB 537 – Postsecondary Education

Legislation  (Veto)July 12, 2011

Legislation  (Veto) July 5, 2011
HB 614 – Inventory Tax Credit

Legislation  (Veto) July 1, 2011

More Key Votes

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Bobby Jindal on the Issues

International Issues Domestic Issues Economic Issues Social Issues
Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform  Civil Rights
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Health Care Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Technology Corporations Welfare & Poverty
Energy & Oil Environment Jobs Principles & Values
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