Gov. Bob McDonnell's audition for the Republican 2012 ticket probably took another hit yesterday when the Virginia Republican accidentally told the truth about the effects of the Obama administration's economic policies.
CNN's Candy Crowley and McDonnell discussed the state of Virginia's economy, which is actually quite good, and the host pressed the governor on sharing the credit. "Do you credit President Obama at all for the good fortune Virginia has?" she asked. "He's done nothing at all to help you all?"
MCDONNELL: Well, I would ask you, what would you point to that would lead you to say that that unemployment -- the only thing I can say is he had a nearly a trillion dollars in stimulus, and that was one-time spending. Did it help us in the short run with health care and education spending to balance the budget? Sure. [...]CROWLEY: So just a tiny bit of credit to the president?MCDONNELL: Well, sure. I think there's national policies that is have had some impact.
To be sure, McDonnell made the concession reluctantly, and added that while conditions have improved under Obama, they'd improve even more under Mitt Romney, but the Virginia Republican nevertheless conceded what is plainly true: Obama acted to improve the economy, and in McDonnell's state, the policies made a positive difference.
So when Romney travels to Virginia and tells voters Obama "made the economy worse," it's worth remembering that Romney's biggest ally in Virginia -- the Commonwealth's governor and VP wannabe -- disagrees.
And the larger point, as we've discussed, is that the trend is common in several key swing states. In Ohio, the jobless rate is down to 7.4%. In Virginia, it's improved to 5.6%. Even in Nevada, where the unemployment rate is still a crushing 11.7%, the figure has dropped two points in one year, which represents rather extraordinary progress. Bloomberg News reported, "The unemployment rates in a majority of the 2012 battleground states are lower than the national average as those economies improve."
Whether conditions will deteriorate or improve in the near future remains to be seen, but for now, McDonnell's candor is precisely what the Obama campaign wants to hear.