The Washington Times - November 9, 2011, 12:41AM

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, offered up distinctly different takes on Tuesday’s election results.

Mr. McDonnell, who has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate in 2012, said Republican gains in Virginia and Mississippi are bad news for President Obama.

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“It’s been a big night for Republicans in Virginia. We’re now at the highest Republican watermark in Virginia history,” Mr. McDonnell said on Fox News late Tuesday. “Mississippi had a great night as well.”

“What we’re trying to do in Virginia is focus on the things people care about … toning down the rhetoric and trying to get results. I think that’s why people are a little more satisfied with Virginia than they are with D.C. I think a Republican candidate for president does very well in Virginia next year,” he said.

Mr. McDonnell, who ran as a social conservative, said fiscal issues would dominate next year’s presidential election, but he said social issues and traditional values shouldn’t be discounted.

“Life and marriage and family and the protection of individual liberty,” he said, have always been important to American voters.

Mr. O’Malley cited the re-election of Gov. Steve Beshear in Kentucky and the pro-union vote in Ohio as victories for Democrats.

The Maryland governor said the key to success for Democrats is to focus their campaigns on job creation.