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Morning Read: Are McDonnell's Abortion Views Becoming More Moderate?

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AM Read: McDonnell's Abortion Views More Moderate?

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Led by Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell (R), Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (L) arrives for an address to the Northern Virginia Technology Council and the Consumer Electronics Association during a breakfast February 10, 2012 in Reston, Virginia. He discussed his plan for jobs and how technology and innovation can spur the nation's economic growth.

As the media continues to peg Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell as a viable VP contender, the Washington Post’s Anita Kumar scrutinizes his stance on abortion, asking whether the Republican has moderated his views to appeal to a more national audience.

As a legislator, attorney general and governor, Robert F. McDonnell has said he opposes abortion in all but one instance: if continuing the pregnancy would put the woman’s life in danger.

But McDonnell, a possible vice presidential candidate, recently said through his spokesman that he would also allow it in cases of rape or incest.

The statement has prompted many supporters and opponents to believe that he has modified one of his core political stances. Some suspect he has done so to improve his chances of being picked as a running mate for presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, whose own position on abortion has shifted over time but makes exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the woman.

In response to the article, Politico blogged that, in many ways, MCDonnell is a perfect running mate for Romney but warned that his abortion stances will likely be at the forefront of the vetting process.

"He's a conservative Southern governor with a solid record on jobs and deficits and the near-total trust of the Christian conservative community. The down side is that he's seriously vulnerable to criticism for his record on women's issues, starting with the thesis he wrote at Regent University and running up through the ultrasound legislation he signed this spring. In that context, the governor's record and views on abortion could end up front and center in the 2012 campaign." 

* If Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R) wants to claim the newly mapped 6th congressional district in Maryland, he’ll need to win more voters in Montgomery County, the Washington Times reports.

Democrats redrew the 6th District to include much of western Montgomery County and give Democrats a voter registration voter edge in the longtime conservative district.

The race between 10-term incumbent Bartlett and newcomer John Delaney (D) has been dubbed as one of the most highly anticipated races in the nation -- and one of just a handful where Democrats have a chance of unseating a Republican.

VIA The Times:

“Mr. Bartlett will look to improve on his primary performance, when he netted just 34.5 percent of votes from Montgomery Republicans — nine points less than his smallest share elsewhere and nine points less than the 43.6 percent he earned throughout the district.

Meanwhile, Mr. Delaney polled at 52.9 percent in Montgomery and 54.2 percent throughout the district in a less crowded Democratic race.”

* Gov. Bob McDonnell touted Virginia’s new 5.6 percent jobless rate -- which is well below the nation’s average of 8.2 percent -- and said President Barack Obama deserves no credit for Virginia’s success.

Instead, he said, bipartisan, pro-business polices enacted by Virginia’s legislature are more responsible for the state’s economic recovery than anything Obama has done, according to Bloomberg News.

VIA Bloomberg

“Our state policies and our great free enterprise leaders” are “some reasons why Virginia is doing better,” he said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital With Al Hunt” airing this weekend.

* In a letter to Gov. Martin O’Malley and House Speaker Michael Busch, Senate President Thomas Mike Miller says he wants a “modification” to the “doomsday” budget deal signed hours before the legislation session ended last week.

According to The Baltimore Sun, Miller says the General Assembly should increase income taxes on people with adjusted gross incomes of more than $75,000.

House and Senate budget conferees had agreed to a plan to raise taxes on individuals with incomes of more than $100,000.

Read more here. 

* Results of an ongoing Virginia State Police investigation of voter registration irregularities from the 2008 election indicate that voter fraud may be more significant of an issue than some state lawmakers realize, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

So far, the investigation has resulted in charges against 38 people. Warrants have been obtained for a 39th person who cannot be located. Twenty-six cases are still being actively investigated.

While Virginia legislators debated a controversial voter ID bill that narrowly passed the General Assembly, many lawmakers, according to The RTD, were unaware of the police investigation.

Many people who opposed the bill argued that there is no evidence of significant voter fraud in the state and the measure would serve suppress student, elderly and minority voters -- or those demographics who are most likely to not have an ID.

About 3.7 million people Virginians voted in the 2008 election.

VIA RTD:

"We believe these complaints ran the gamut from voter registration fraud issues through potential fraud at the polling place on Election Day," said Donald Palmer, secretary of the Virginia Board of Elections, who was appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell in February 2011. "We do not have specific numbers on how the complaints broke down. However, (the state board of elections) is aware that arrests have been made over the past few years for individuals engaging in voter registration fraud."

* A report shows that the District is releasing fewer prisoners during overnight hours than it did in the past. This, according to The Washington Examiner, could relieve concerns of the dangers of freed convicts roaming the streets around the jail in Southeast Washington after dark.

The Department of Correction reports said that in the 2010 fiscal year, 15 prisoners per month were released between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The Examiner reports that the decline began not long after a D.C. councilmember introduced a measure that would impose strict requirements about how quickly and when the Department of Corrections could release inmates. The measure also fined the Department $1,000 every time it released an inmate during this nine-hour period.

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