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Gov. Bob McDonnell Tapped for GOP SOTU Response

2:30 PM, Jan 21, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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I like it. I tend to think Sen. Scott Brown would have looked a bit like a stunt, and Bob McDonnell is a solid choice.

McDonnell was an upbeat, disciplined campaigner who attracted independents in an important swing state that had been trending blue until his huge win over Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds.

He will be the "third Virginian in recent memory to deliver the response. Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) and DNC Chair Tim Kaine have also delivered State of the Union responses."

GOP leaders highlighted McDonnell's experience with economic issues and his connection with voters as reasons for the pick.

John Boehner:

“As the American people continue to ask, ‘where are the jobs,’ Gov. McDonnell has offered common-sense economic policies in stark contrast to Washington Democrats’ job-killing agenda. We don’t need a government takeover of health care or a ‘cap-and-trade’ national energy tax – we need a common-sense plan to help middle-class families and small businesses and allow them to keep more of what they earn so they can save, invest, and hire.”

Mitch McConnell:

“Gov. McDonnell understands that the American people are more interested in shrinking unemployment than expanding government. He is an impressive public servant and an excellent choice to offer Republican solutions for our country.”

Below the fold, I'm pasting the text of McDonnell's inaugural address. Click over to C-SPAN to see him deliver the State of the State address to Virginia representatives this week, to see what kind of speaking style you're in for (He starts at the 4-minute mark). He's not a firecracker, but he's an engaging speaker with a good message. He matches the mood of concerned Americans by emphasizing jobs, economy, and policy over ideology, but his conservatism clearly informs his choices. He plans to take a pay cut himself (and ask his staff to do the same) as part of the effort to create a "government that is more limited, effective, efficient, and affordable."

I wish the GOP would do something slightly unorthodox— maybe a speech in front of a live audience, a la J.C. Watts in 1997. The SOTU response always suffers so much just by venue-comparison; at least livening up the traditional empty-room setting would help.

Gov. Bob McDonnell's Inaugural Address:

Thank you. Mr. Speaker, Lt. Governor Bolling, Attorney General Cuccinelli, Members of the General Assembly

 Distinguished guests from around the world and across the country, family and friends, my fellow Virginians…. 

Good afternoon!

We gather today on the steps of our magnificent and newly renovated State Capitol.

From this hill the land rolls gently down to the James River, the waterway of the Settlers in 1607.

From this place, the sweep of history has moved us forward to today.

This is the cradle of democracy for Virginia and America.

Governor Thomas Jefferson designed this Capitol building.

Governor Patrick Henry came here for the laying of its cornerstone

I am humbled today to follow in their historic footsteps.

The General Assembly first convened in this new building during the first term of America’s first President, Virginia’s George Washington.

Behind me, in the Rotunda, are the busts of the eight Virginians who became President.

It was here that Robert E. Lee, the son of a Virginia Governor, was commissioned as Commander of the Commonwealth’s military forces as a young nation split into war.

It was here, just four years later, that President Abraham Lincoln came to begin the process of reuniting our war-torn nation, walking the streets of still smoldering Richmond.

And it was here, 125 years after Lincoln’s visit that a grandson of slaves, L. Douglas Wilder, took the Oath of Office as the nation’s first African-American Governor.

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