Obama, Cantor hold dueling jobs events in Richmond

President Obama will speak at the University of Richmond Friday morning as he begins to sell his jobs plan unveiled Thursday night before a joint session of Congress.


House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) (Andrew Harrer/BLOOMBERG)

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, will not be at either event.

McDonnell issued a statement welcoming Obama to Virginia, saying longstanding commitments in southwest Virginia preclude him from greeting the president at the airport. (Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones (D) greeted the president.)

“I sincerely hope that he will use this pivotal moment to embrace the creative policies of free enterprise we need to get our economy back on track and our citizens back to work,” McDonnell said.

McDonnell wrote in a lengthy statement about the president’s job plan that the Obama administration keeps “throwing up roadblocks” to developing domestic energy resources and attempting job creation in right to work states, and it was initiating pricey mandates and regulations on businesses and states.


President Obama addresses a joint session of Congress inside the House chamber (LARRY DOWNING/REUTERS)

Other Virginia Republicans, including U.S. Senate candidates George Allen and Jamie Radtke, were quick to criticize Obama’s speech Thursday night in which he laid out a $447 billion jobs plan that includes a mix of tax cuts and investments to infrastructure.

“Once again, President Obama has demonstrated that he simply has no new ideas for fixing the economy,’’ Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II and Virginia GOP Chairman Pat Mullins said in a joint statement. “When presented with a dire situation that calls for original thinking, the president has largely returned to his familiar playbook of bigger government and more government spending.”

Tim Kaine, former Democratic governor and now a candidate for U.S. Senate, said Obama offered a “series of strong, bipartisan solutions designed to spur hiring and job growth without adding to the deficit.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said the president issued the right call to action.

“There is no single ‘silver bullet’ solution to this sluggish economic recovery, but we certainly can take smart, targeted actions that will help encourage new jobs and investment,’’ he said.

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