White House ’08: McDonnell talks up McCain, energy issues in ’08 race

Story by Chris Graham
freepress2@ntelos.net

Attorney General Bob McDonnell is applying for another job next year, as you might have heard. But first things first. McDonnell is focused through Nov. 4 on the ’08 elections and what he can do to help keep Virginia in the Republican Party column.

“It’s a competitive state. It’s obvious the past couple of elections that Republicans have lost, but I think over the last couple of weeks with John McCain laying out in some detail his views on the economy and on foreign policy and on energy and the addition of Sarah Palin that there’s some enthusiasm for this ticket,” McDonnell told AFP correspondent in an interview on Friday.

McDonnell told Hodge that he “always thought that after Labor Day the independent swing voters really start to focus on the issues and the candidates, and that that would inure to John McCain’s benefit, because I think he’s right on the issues that Virginians care about.” And he feels good about McCain’s chances in November. “We’re up about four (points) according to the poll today. We’re certainly appreciative of that bounce after the convention, and hopeful that with their continued appearances in Virginia and a lot of good surrogates that we will win again in Virginia,” McDonnell said.

McDonnell was referring to a CNN/Time poll released last week that had McCain up four in Virginia. That poll was based on interviews conducted between Sept. 7 and Sept. 9 in the immediate aftermath of the Republican National Convention. A more recent poll, released today by Survey USA, based on interviews conducted beginning Friday and ending on Sunday, has Obama up four statewide and has him trailing by nine points in the Valley after being behind 24 points in the Valley just a week ago.

Hodge talked with McDonnell about what promises to be a hot topic for voters between now and Election Day – gas prices. With prices in Virginia up as much as 60 cents a gallon since Friday, the pain is back as we dread that trip to the gas pumps. The number-one solution, McDonnell told Hodge, echoing everybody on both sides of the political aisle, “is you have to end reliance on foreign sources” of energy. “As long as 70 percent of the oil in America comes from foreign countries, OPEC and countries that don’t like America or Israel or freedom or democracy, that’s not a good long-term strategy for us,” McDonnell said. “It’s a $700 billion transfer from America to foreign countries every year, which is hurting our economy. So we’ve got to reduce our dependence. You do that by drilling offshore, you do that by drilling in ANWR in Alaska, which can be done safely. You do that by building more nuclear power plants in America, particularly here in Virginia with a reliance on Virginia coal, and we’ve got some of the cleanest plants in the country. And you do it by exploring alternatives in wind and solar and coal gassification and biodiesel and some of the other alternatives that can be done in a cost-effective basis,” McDonnell said.

McDonnell said John McCain is the only one of the two major-party candidates to support offshore drilling and support expanding the use of coal. Actually, Obama has said in recent weeks that he would support looking at increasing offshore drilling as long as that was considered as part of a broad-based strategy that included more support for development of alternative energy sources. Obama has also long been a strong supporter of increased use of coal, including his authorship of bipartisan legislation to promote the development of new coal-to-liquid technologies.


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