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Va. Gov.: 'Occupy' should remain; GOP front-runner hasn't called

Wednesday - 10/26/2011, 4:07am  ET

(WTOP/Paul D. Shinkman)

Ask the Governor

Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell speaks with WTOP's Mark Segraves


WASHINGTON -- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was a guest on WTOP's "Ask the Governor" program on Tuesday.

The nationwide "Occupy" protests should absolutely be allowed to demonstrate, McDonnell says, provided they are adhering to local law.

"I'm upset too," McDonnell says, and adds the protests should be in Washington, D.C. to petition the policies of the president and Congress, not in New York City.

A few of the current GOP presidential candidates have contacted McDonnell asking for his endorsement, he says. He spoke with Newt Gingrich, whom he says has "big ideas."

He has not yet heard from Herman Cain, who as of Tuesday is leading in some polls.

McDonnell is not planning on making an endorsement until November.

The governor was "stunned" by recent legislation proposed by Montgomery County that would request restrictions on defense funding, which caught the ire of locally based contractor Lockheed Martin.

Virginia has not tried to court their business, McDonnell says, adding many states, like California, have too many taxes and regulations, so it's no wonder Virginia has already recruited companies like SAIC and Hilton.

But, he added, "I'm working on things as we speak."

#ICYMI, listen to the full audio of the show at right or check out this live blog:

10:58 a.m., speaking about the upcoming College Park versus Notre Dame game at FedEx Field:

I'm sure we can get a friendly wager going with Governor O'Malley.

10:55 a.m., speaking about wind energy in Va.:

We have great resources in Virginia, including nuclear and natural gas.

I think there's potential at Cape Charles to make the economics work.

"We should have a red, white and blue energy policy" that uses resources from America.

10:55 a.m., speaking about abortion:

I'm pro-life, always have been, always will be. The government has to protect innocent human life.

10:54 a.m., speaking about raising the gas tax:

I don't think there is the economic support or the political support to do that.

10:52 a.m., speaking about car tax:

It has not been done yet, but there is not an immediate plan to do anything further because of the tough budget times.

10:42 a.m., speaking about hiring practices in Virginia state government:

This is the most heartbreaking situation, having to look at people who are unemployed and looking for work.

I have enacted a hiring freeze in many places because we have to save money, and we've had to lay off a significant amount of people.

10:36 a.m., speaking about the Occupy movement:

We have a few in Richmond. I understand their frustration -- we are the greatest country on Earth but we are recovering very slowly from the economic downturn.

I'd be upset too, but I wouldn't be in New York, I'd be in Washington D.C.

They should be allowed to remain provided they aren't harming anyone else.

10:34 a.m., speaking about D.C. new policy to not comply with federal immigration policy enforcement:

The legal consequences are between Mayor Gray and the Obama administration.

"We've taken a different approach in Virginia because we adhere to the rule of law."

I recently asked the Obama administration for permission to train our law enforcement officers as ICE agents. I'm still waiting to hear on that, and am disappointed it's taken so long.

10:33 a.m., speaking about the wild animal escape in Ohio, and state-by-state regulations for wildlife:

My secretary of public safety is still analyzing Virginia's laws, and whether they need to be changed.

10:26 a.m., speaking about cost overruns on the Dulles Rail project:

I have asked for some reforms on MWAA. Unfortunately, I only get to make one appointment to that board, even though both airports are in Virginia and our taxpayers have to pay the most of the fray.

I want to see the project built, it's great for the state and Loudoun County, but we need to get the costs under control.

I have to make sure tolls don't go through the roof, and the project is being run properly.

10:24 a.m., speaking about potentially endorsing a candidate:

A couple of the main candidates have asked me for an endorsement. I have not talked to Herman Cain, though I really like him. He's a breath of fresh air.

I've talked to Newt Gingrich, who is a smart guy with big ideas.

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