CBS 6 Interviews Governor Bob McDonnell once a month following his “Ask the Governor” Radio Show in Richmond, VA. A Transcript of the Interview can be found here.
Questioner: Reporter Joe St. George
Q: Governor you are heading to Iowa today to speak at a fundraiser. Is this your first step on the road to a 2016 bid?
Governor: No it is one of my last steps to the road to a Romney presidency is what it is. Governor Romney has been kind enough to ask me to do some things for him around the country and I have a long standing commitment to speak to the Iowa republican parties Lincoln Reagan day dinner. I’ve done several of those around the country but Iowa is a swing state like Virginia and so I’ll be out there to do all I can to convince people in Iowa, like we are doing in Virginia. There’s a handful of undecideds that Mitt Romney’s vision for the future is better than. President Obama’s record is of the past and that a change in leadership is necessary for this country.
Joe: Do you support the constitutional amendment up for a vote in Virginia this year regarding changes in eminent domain?
Governor: Yea, I think this is a very important amendment. With the presidential, the senate election, it hasn’t gotten a lot of attention but we’ve been working on this for years in the wake of a very bad supreme court decision back in 2005 Kilo V. London. It was very obvious from most states that we needed to do a better job protecting private property rights. The constitution says you can only take private property for public use and with just compensation but we haven’t acted enough protection to make sure that is really what is happening. So this amendment will much more clearly outline the condition in which government can take your property and spell out much more clearly what the just compensation really means so that if you do lose your property to government use that you are actually compensated fully for that property. It is very important every property owner in VA ought to be for this and I hope it will pass.
Joe: There was some news out of Indiana yesterday regarding the GOP senate nominee. He said that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.” Romney has strongly condemned those statements what is your reaction to this?
Governor: There is no way to listen to what every candidate around the country is saying. I can only speak for myself and that is that the Republican Party is the pro life party and the Democratic Party is the pro choice party. Uh and I think people know that. What is important in this election is how do we get people back to work and how do we create jobs and how do we create more opportunities and how do we get out of this crushing debt of 16 trillion dollars. This president has racked up more than anybody else. What I would say is that those are really the issues that will drive voters. Republican and Democratic. It’s hard to be able to explain or understand and defend every comment every candidate makes on either side of the aisle this time. So I’m just not familiar with those comments.
Joe: Yesterday, the high school graduation rate was announced. What is your reaction and I know there have been rumblings that education reform is one of your priorities come this legislative session where have you gotten on that?
Governor: We are delighted to say that the graduation rate is up. 88 percent now on time. Which is heading the right direction still not enough, not acceptable. Our goal is to make sure every young person is either career ready or college ready when they graduate high school because, if they don’t have a job or aren’t going to college then we’ve failed them and that’s not acceptable. We also found out that the drop out rate has gone down and that shows that we are also making progress but, I think we can still do much better. Overall, we have a good public education system, dedicated teachers and administration but, I still think we’ve got to do better. We look at what is going on in the pacific rim countries, Asia and Latin America and others you know we have a globally competitive world and we’re not doing as well as we need to in math, science, technology and so we are way down in the rankings for the industrialized nations and so you can see a lot of initiatives this year that we will propose to improve our public school system to put resources in.
Q: Like what?
Governor: Well stay tuned we’re still putting those together but it’s going to focus on excellence. It’s going to focus on stem. It’s going to focus on teacher professionalism. It will focus on some school choice charter schools and things like that. All of which are part of the overall equation to improve excellence, accountability and performance in our system and I just think we’ve got to do better.
Joe: And election day it is all about the vote at this point for you. Are you worried that the republican supporters might not get to the polls come the second Tuesday in November?
Governor: Not at all. I see more on the ground people are very engaged, they are very concerned about a second four years of the status quo of Barack Obama and the taxes and regulations and anti energy development policies that we’ve seen here in Virginia and not standing up for the defense and not letting us drill off shore. These are not policies that are playing well at all in Virginia so people are motivated. Secondly they are motivated because they believe we have got a great candidate and the right leader with the right skill set at the right time for America in Mitt Romney and his view for restoring the American dream for the middle class and building up the US navy and using all of our resources including coal and off shore oil and gas. These are the things Virginians know will get us back to work so the enthusiasm gap I think clearly favors Republicans unlike ’08 where Barack Obama did a good job motivating the young people and new voters to come out and support him. That’s been reversed. We’ve made so far about 4.5 million calls. Over a million door knocks vastly superior to ’08 and ’09. I’m feeling good about our ability to get people to the polls.