Gov. McDonnell: Virginia Would Be Better Off Without Obama Policies

By Fred Lucas | September 17, 2012 | 7:16 AM EDT

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell speaks at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August 2012. (AP Photo)

( – Despite an unemployment rate that is lower than the national average, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said his state would be doing even better if it weren’t for President Barack Obama’s policies.

Obama, campaigning in Virginia, says things are getting better in the commonwealth, McDonnell noted. “I’d say to the president, show me the evidence that any policy you’ve put in place has contributed to the better climate in Virginia. I mean, the only thing that they’ve done is spend about $1 trillion in stimulus spending,” the governor told on the sidelines of the Values Voters Summit in Washington on Friday.

“I think what’s happened in Virginia is, we’ve got Republicans and Democrats working with me in the legislature to put forth tremendously positive, pro-growth policies, to cut down on taxes and regulation, and to be a champion and be positive about business. I tell people all the time, we want more of you to be entrepreneurs and pursue the American dream. The president comes to Virginia and says if you have a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen.

“So, I can’t think of a thing that I would point to that the president has done that accounts for the success,” McDonnell continued. “In fact I would say, while our unemployment is 5.9 percent, we’d be in a lot better [shape] if we didn’t have the president and his administration hammering our energy industry and putting more unfunded mandates on the people of Virginia. We’d be doing better.”

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Virginia, a key battleground state in the presidential race, has the tenth lowest unemployment rate in the country. The national unemployment rate in August was 8.1 percent.

McDonnell, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association and a Romney surrogate, said that seven of the ten states with the lowest unemployment have Republican governors.

In his speech to conservatives at the Values Voters Summit, McDonnell noted that unemployment increased under Obama as did gas prices.

But even more disturbing, he said, “We’ve had the lowest number of new entrepreneurs in 30 years in America.

“Let me repeat that because I think that’s the most devastating thing we have right now, is the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or people who are the ones that dream big and work hard and try to accomplish great things for other people are at the lowest level now because of the stifling taxes and regulation, litigation, unionization, interference from Washington.”

Forbes magazine and the Brookings Institute reported in April that entrepreneur and startup businesses are at a 30-year low. asked McDonnell if Obama should be blamed for that.

“There is plenty of blame to go around in Washington. Congress has about a 15 percent approval rating, but I think the president has ultimately failed to lead,” McDonnell said.

The Virginia governor said he, like Obama, has to work with a Democratic Senate and Republican House, yet McDonnell said he managed to get a budget passed as well as education and transportation legislation.

“I don’t blame the president. The president didn’t create the situation that we’re in. He inherited a tough situation. He’s just made it worse,” McDonnell said. “His policies haven’t worked because we have worse unemployment, we have more taxes, we have a crushing debt (to which) he’s added $6 trillion, more than any president in American history. He’s doubled gas prices. I mean, there’s a lot of things that I do say specifically, the president’s policies have failed.” asked the governor if he would consider taking an administration post if Romney won. McDonnell replied, “I can’t answer that question until I know if Gov. Romney has won or not. Right now, I love being governor.”