From Richmond comes word that Gov. Charles S. Robb has spent a lot of time away from the state capital in the 19 months he has served as Virginia's chief executive.
Before getting into details, let's pause. From the perspective of Washington, it doesn't seem unusual for a chief executive to get out of town often for official trips or personal pleasure. Ike went to Gettysburg, JFK to Hyannis Port, LBJ to the banks of the Pedernales, Dick Nixon to the ocean whose love he shares with me . . . and so on. And all of them spent time, as does Ronald Reagan, at Camp David, a lovely Maryland mountain retreat.
The story carried by the Associated Press from Richmond, no doubt given big play in the state press, is that Chuck Robb has been away from Richmond for all or part of 202 of the 550 days since he took office, not counting a week-long Jamaica vacation or weekends spent chiefly at Virginia Beach or at McLean, his home.
Most of those out-of-Richmond days were spent within Virginia, on state business, including ceremonies where the governor's presence is suitable. (A personal aside: I saw my first governor, wearing top hat on a ceremonial occasion, when I was 6 years old, and date my interest in politics for good or ill from that event.) At least 40 times, Robb came to Washington, often to testify at congressional hearings. He's also visited 26 other states, including a visit yesterday to Denver.
Why the frequent out-of-state travel? A desire for higher office? We'd guess that's so, though his press secretary says that's speculation. But if the governor governs, which he's doing quite well, he can travel all he wants and be ambitious, too.