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McDonnell, McAuliffe strike conciliatory tone

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Gov. Bob McDonnell and Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe addressed reporters Thursday at a press conference.

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Virginia Business Video Virginia Business Video
Gov. Bob McDonnell and Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe addressed reporters Thursday at a press conference.

Watch the video


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Michaele White Photo.

In the wake of Tuesday’s bitter election, Gov. Bob McDonnell and Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe tried Thursday to change the divisive political climate to one of bipartisan compromise.

“The campaign is over,” McDonnell said at a joint news conference inside the Executive Mansion after he and McAuliffe had lunch together. “It’s time to govern. Terry wants to do that.”

McAuliffe said one of the first congratulatory calls he received Tuesday was from McDonnell, although he still has not spoken with his Republican opponent Ken Cuccinelli.

McDonnell said the two mostly discussed the budget and budget priorities. Under Virginia’s budget calendar, the governor-elect inherits a biennial budget written by his predecessor. McAuliffe also had a meeting scheduled with Virginia Secretary of Finance Ric Brown.

In addition, they briefly discussed Medicaid expansion — an issue where the two are at odds. McAuliffe made Medicaid expansion, which would add 400,000 Virginians to the program, a key theme in his campaign. But McDonnell has opposed expansion unless major reforms are made the Medicaid program. The Republican-controlled House of Delegates also opposes expansion.

McAuliffe said Thursday he planned to reach out to Republican lawmakers to come to a consensus on the issue. “We have a lot of work to do,” he said.

In fact, McAuliffe said he had a goal to meet with every Republican senator and delegate. He has promised to have a bi-partisan Cabinet.

McDonnell said the two would meet again in a few weeks.

“I’ve told Terry this is kind of like drinking out of a fire hose,” McDonnell said of trying to get a handle on taking over a 110,000-employee state government and an $85 billion budget. He said he has instructed agency heads to provide jump drives of data to McAuliffe’s transition team.

“This is probably going to be the smoothest transition we’ve ever seen,” McDonnell said.


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