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Virginia Politics
Posted at 02:17 PM ET, 08/17/2012

McDonnell, O’Malley to talk campaign tone Sunday

Here’s a chance to elevate the much-bemoaned tone of the presidential campaign. Or not.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) (Patrick Semansky - AP)
Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) appears with Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Here’s the topic they’ll take up, described on the show’s Web site: “Has the campaign for the nation’s highest office reached its lowest point? The campaign kicked into what some are calling the most negative phase yet - will the country get a debate on the big ideas on how to solve the country’s economic woes?”
Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) (Nikki Fox - AP)

McDonnell and O’Malley are miles apart on ideology, but as governors of neighboring states, they’ve worked collaboratively on some regional issues, such as Chesapeake Bay clean-up.

Maybe this will be the opportunity for the political world to sit down and have a civil discussion about the uncivil race for president.

Then again, both men have been known to toe the party line as leaders of rival, partisan governors associations.

They’ve gone head to head on national TV before. In an appearance a year ago on CNN, McDonnell chastised O’Malley for how he’d described certain factions of the GOP.

“Words like ‘dinosaur wing’ and ‘extremist,’ it's not helpful to the civility in our country,” McDonnell said

O’Malley did not respond directly, but he has told reporters that his colorful language was just a way of “having some fun” at Republicans’ expense, and that he had urged Democrats to work with reasonable members of “the party of Lincoln.”

Tune in Sunday to witness the rhetorical turning point — or more of the same.

By  |  02:17 PM ET, 08/17/2012

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