Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), who will be meeting privately for a few minutes with President Obama in Hampton this morning, has a few things on his mind.
McDonnell, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said in an interview Tuesday that he would like to give Obama some advice on the economy.
“If he’d listen to 30 seconds of advice on the economy, I’d tell him. ‘Mr President, rather than listen to all your advisers, listen to the job creators, listen to business people and entrepreneurs,’’’ McDonnell said. “[Instead] They’re attacking Wall Street. It’s unfathomable that they think they’re going to win this election by attacking business. That seems to be the way they are going...They’re just not taking responsibility for the problems in our country. He’s the leader of the free world. Take responsibility and come up with a plan that works.”
Obama began a three-day bus tour Monday in North Carolina and is in Virginia Tuesday and Wednesday — as he tries to sell his jobs plan.
He spoke at a high school in Emporia on Tuesday. He will be at Langley Air Force base in Hampton and a fire station in Chesterfield County outside Richmond Wednesday.
McDonnell said he likes Obama personally and has worked well with the federal government on hurricane preparation and education initiatives.
“I’m not at all afraid to tell the president when they are doing stuff right. I’ll applaud them,’’ McDonnell said. “On the things there are doing on jobs and energy, I think they’re almost clueless because they are not listening to people who know how to create jobs.’’
McDonnell said he will tell Obama how disappointed he is that the president declined to visit the earthquake-damaged county of Louisa while in the state.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied Virginia’s request for aid to help property owners affected by the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the state Aug. 23. The epicenter was in tiny Mineral in Louisa County, southwest of Washington.
McDonnell is appealing the decision. Damage to residential property is estimated at nearly $18 million, mostly in uninsured costs.
“I’d love for him to come to Louisa,’’ he said. “I’m disappointed at that....If I were him, I’d spend 15-20 minutes, half an hour, in Louisa by helicopter.”
McDonnell will also mention the state’s effort to make part of Fort Monroe a national park. “It’s a huge opportunity,’’ he said.
Democratic Sens. James Webb and Mark Warner have introduced the Fort Monroe National Historical Park Establishment Act of 2011.
Fort Monroe — on a strip of land in Hampton, where several rivers flow into the Chesapeake Bay — played a key role as a Union stronghold during the Civil War. In 1861, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler made what became known as the “contraband” decision, refusing to return escaped slaves to their masters in the south. Jefferson Davis was imprisoned at Monroe for two years after the war ended.
McDonnell is wearing a green tie today in support of that effort — at the request of Hampton officials.
Obama and McDonnell will be joined by their wives, both of whom have focused on veterans issues. “I’m going to say ‘welcome to Virginia. We look forward to working with you on these veterans issues,’’’ he said.
McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, will present the president and first lady with a bottle of Barboursville Chardonnay as part of a small gift basket that includes homemade cookies from the governor’s mansion and two wine glasses.