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Virginia Politics
Posted at 11:56 AM ET, 02/28/2012

McDonnell: Media focus on social issues gives false impression of General Assembly

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said Tuesday that he is disappointed in the media’s fixation on social issues, including abortion, adoption and guns, during the 60-day legislative session.

“All we ever ask from the media is be fair, cover what’s actually going on,’’ McDonnell said on his monthly call-in show on WTOP.

McDonnell said lawmakers have passed more than 1,000 bills but that most of the coverage over last month has been about a handful of bills working their way through the GOP-led General Assembly.

“It is a complete overreach I would say and a complete misrepresentation of what is actually happening in Richmond,’’ he said.

McDonnell has pushed more than 100 bills this session, including ones that shore up the state’s pension system, ease traffic congestion and boost education opportunities. But social issues have yielded the most-intense debates and garnered the most attention with protests on Capitol Square and ridicule on late-night television.

“It is an imbalance in the reporting of what we are actually doing,’’ he said.

McDonnell said that 97 percent of the General Assembly's bills have been about issues he is emphasizing. To highlight his point, he issued a news release a few weeks ago in which he focused on the victories of some of his bills, and he cut a video to explain the session's important issues. He did not mention social issues in either.

“Of course it’s disappointing but the things that invoke passion and conflict and differences of opinion, of course they are going to involved more media attention,’’ he said.

McDonnell said the most important issue is the two-year $85 billion budget, which the Senate failed to pass because all Democrats voted against it. They will have a second chance to vote on it this week, this time the House version.

“This is the defining vote of the session — whether or not the Senate Democrats will still put partisanship over approving a budget,’’ McDonnell said. “They have expressed discontent about the committee assignments six or seven weeks ago and because they’re still upset about it, they would bring the government of Virginia to its knees.”

Senate Democrats deny that charge. Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) said the Democrats’s “no vote was not about politics.’’

“It’s about people,’’ he has said. “If the Senate really reflected the will of Virginia’s voters, we wouldn’t see a budget like this.’’

By  |  11:56 AM ET, 02/28/2012

 
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