McDonnell, Obama have 'friendly' chat in Hampton

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has stepped up criticism of President Barack Obama and his policies (including telling the Washington Post on Tuesday, for example, that the Obama administration is “almost clueless” on the economy.) But a spokesman for the governor described McDonnell’s private, 10-minute meeting with the president in Hampton on Wednesday as “a friendly visit.”

The governor thanked the president for making the hiring of veterans a priority — the impetus for Mr. Obama’s traveling to Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton as part of his bus tour to promote his jobs plan — and that there is a lot of common ground to be had on the issue, said McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin.

Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, also reiterated his call for federal assistance for Louisa County in the wake of the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Louisa County in August, causing millions in damage, most of it uninsured. The federal government denied Virginia’s application for assistance, a move that Mr. McDonnell is appealing.

Mr. McDonnell took the opportunity to express his strong personal support of making Fort Monroe a National Park, and wore a green tie Wednesday in support of the effort. The U.S. Army base at Fort Monroe in Hampton closed in September and Virginia took control of the land. U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb, who were testifying at an Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee hearing Wednesday, in June introduced the “Fort Monroe National Historical Park Establishment Act.”

The governor and first lady will also present the president and first lady Michelle Obama 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.

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