McDonnell to Attend Hampton Vets Event With Obama

Obama bus tour in Virginia Tuesday

By BOB LEWIS
|  Monday, Oct 17, 2011  |  Updated 8:50 PM EDT
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McDonnell to Attend Hampton Vets Event With Obama

AP

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell at a rally in Richmond in October 2009.

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President Barack Obama will be joined at one of his campaign-style two-state bus stops in Virginia by the state's Republican governor and one of the president's most frequent critics.

Gov. Bob McDonnell will join Obama for his Wednesday event at a military base in Hampton where the president is scheduled to stress the importance of hiring veterans.

It's part of the White House's American Jobs Act Bus Tour of North Carolina and Virginia. Obama plans a stop in Emporia on Tuesday, then in Hampton and the Richmond suburb of Chesterfield on Wednesday before returning to Washington.

Politically, the moment could be awkward. McDonnell is often mentioned as a prospective vice presidential running mate for the GOP nominee in next year's challenge to Obama's re-election.

And Republicans have criticized Obama's vigorous, personal push for his jobs bill as a full-fledged re-election campaign event done under the auspices of the White House, not his campaign organization, and underwritten by taxpayer funds.

Also, McDonnell last week asked the president to join him during his bus tour in the town of Mineral, epicenter of a 5.8-magnitude August earthquake, to view the damage after the administration's Federal Emergency Management Agency denied Virginia's application for disaster assistance.

If he gets an opportunity, McDonnell may make a pitch to Obama for making Hampton's historic Fort Monroe a national park. The Army this year decommissioned the 177-year-old six-sided stone fortress overlooking Hampton Roads' shipping lanes and turned it over to the state.

J. Tucker Martin, the governor's chief spokesman, said McDonnell won't thrust the issue before Obama because the occasion is about opportunities for veterans.

“However, that's not to say the governor wouldn't bring up the subject if the opportunity presented itself,” Martin said in an email to The Associated Press.

McDonnell is a retired Army colonel. His daughter, Jeanine, served with the Army in Iraq in 2005-06.

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