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In his featured convention speaking role, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a one-time Republican vice presidential short-lister, stressed the success of states led by Republican governors, including his own.

"Every American deserves the opportunity of a limited, responsible government that performs its core functions well and then gets the heck out of the way. That’s when good things happen in the United States of America," he said.

"Republican governors lead seven of the 10 states with the lowest unemployment rates," he noted.

Virginia's own unemployment rate, which has fallen since McDonnell took office in 2010, has remained steadfastly below the national average.

But one major reason for that achievement that McDonnell didn't mention: massive federal spending. Ten cents of every federal procurement dollar spent anywhere on Earth is spent in Virginia. As of 2010, more than 15,000 Virginia companies held federal contracts, a number that has almost tripled since 2001.

As Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, once said of Virginia: "We have a rich uncle, I like to remind people: Uncle Sam."

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.



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