A news article by Svantje Swider
Placing an American flag over one of the puzzling avant-garde paintings in the Newcomb Hall Art Gallery set the stage for the College Republican’s first major speaker of the year, Attorney General and likely gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell. On October 16th, the charismatic and lively McDonnell eschewed the podium, walking around the crowd and frequently peppering the audience with questions, along the lines of “So, who here is from Virginia? Raise your hand.” In style and in content, the event was very similar to other speeches by Virginia politicians when addressing other Republicans— Twenty percent substance, ten percent self-promotion, and the rest paeans to “faith and freedom”, as McDonnell put it, intended to inspire the assembled party faithful.
McDonnell outlined the main priorities and accomplishments of the Virginia Republican party, specifically with regard to the role of the Attorney General. McDonnell cited the concerted efforts of Republican lawmakers to whittle down the immense body of state regulations, and the promotion of “internet safety”—finding more effective ways to combat child pornography.
He then made the case that the prosperity of Virginia is due overwhelmingly to the efforts of former Virginia governors George Allen and Jim Gilmore and to the decade of Republican dominance in the state legislature. When asked about Senatorial candidate and former Governor Mark Warner, McDonnell glanced around the room and asked if there were any journalists in attendance, then answered “Mark Warner is an affable guy, but there’s this mythology surrounding his accomplishments as governor. He’s never had to defend his record as governor, and during his term he presided over the largest tax increase in the state’s history.”
The Attorney General then took questions from the audience, on issues ranging from the Republican presidential primary to unemployment in Southwest Virginia and concealed handguns on campus.