The Washington Times - January 4, 2012, 08:11PM

Despite a contentious, up-and-down and, at times, downright nasty Republican presidential primary race thus far, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was confident the party would rally around the eventual nominee, he said Wednesday.

He noted that Rep. Michele Bachmann’s meteoric rise that culminated in a victory in the Ames straw poll followed by her dropping out of the race after her sixth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses was “an interesting phenomenon.”

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“It does show how amazing and how quickly things can change,” he said. “I will say there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that once the Republican party picks the nominee, that we will be 110 percent united, motivated and enthusiastic about winning for the good of our country.”

Mr. McDonnell has not yet made an endorsement in the race, but has said he would like to see a governor or former governor win the nomination. He did say, however, that his friend Texas Gov. Rick Perry did not call him about the results from Iowa, where Mr. Perry finished fifth.

“And I think there’s a little bit of a ‘waiting for superman’ phenomenon this year - we’re waiting for that exactly right ideal candidate that steps up that has two major qualifications,” Mr. McDonnell said. “One, they’re impeccably principled and conservative with a great record of getting results that everybody likes, and number two, is absolutely the best person to beat President Obama out of those people. Those are two different traits that are not always combined in the same person, so I think that accounts for some of the ups and downs that some of the campaigns have had over the last six months.

He noted that nobody expected John McCain or Barack Obama would be their party’s standard bearers in fall 2007.

“There’s no question we’re going to have a very strong candidate,” he said. “It just may take a couple months to pick [them].”