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CNN "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" - Transcript


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CROWLEY: With me now former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, gentlemen, thank you both for joining me.

I want to start with you, Governor McDonnell, because you have a storm coming your way, so you are seeing less of the presidential candidates and more of the weather forecasters. So let me ask you, first. I know you are doing what can you to kind of baton down the hatches in Virginia. What are you being told to expect there?

MCDONNELL: Well, we're prepared, Candy. We're expecting eight to ten inches of rain on the coast, hurricane force gusts, sustained winds of 50, 60 miles an hour, so minor to moderate or severe flooding, and extensive power outages, that's the biggest concern. And over three or four days of storm effects.

But we have an executive order issued, an emergency declaration. We've got the Guard called up, extra state police. So we're ready. We're just asking people to be patient and be ready for a long haul. But we have an aggressive power restoration program in place. And I think we're ready.

CROWLEY: Let me ask you about the politics of the weather. Let's say -- and Virginia has known a couple of sort of what I would long power outages, as does Maryland where I live. Like we've had a couple of five-day power outages. How does that then affect the election?

Let's say that this is a storm that lasts two days, dumps all this water, widespread power outages. What if anything Tuesday you haven't got the power up? What happens at the voting booth?

I'm sorry, a week from Tuesday.

MCDONNELL: We have contingency plans in place. You know we have had (inaudible) show several months ago, and we had the largest -- third largest power outage in history. But we got everything pretty much back on in seven days. We're not expecting that this time, Candy. We've got about 2,000 additional people that are coming into Virginia to help our power suppliers. And the state board of elections is already planning for extended hours in advance for absentee voting, and it's now a priority, moved up to the same level as hospitals and police stations to have power restored.

So we don't anticipate the problem. We'll be ready. But we're planning for contingencies if there's still a problem. CROWLEY: So, if you still have a problem on election day, you're going to make election places, schools, fire stations, all that kind of stuff, top priority for getting electricity back? Is that what i hear you saying?

MCDONNELL: Absolutely.

I think we'll be ready, Candy. We'll have to wait and see come Wednesday when the storm passes where we are, but all hands will be on deck from other states to help us. And our people have been through this before. We're just not used to a hurricane followed by cold weather and a snowstorm afterwards...


MCDONNELL: the western part of the states.

But our people are ready.


CROWLEY: Let me turn to Governor McDonnell. New Washington Post poll out showing president Obama at 51, Governor Romney at 47. This is a race that has a similar situation in Ohio. Your economy is doing better than the national economy is, and this has been a tough row for him to hoe here. What does Mitt Romney have to do if he can get into the state after the storm to turn this around?

MCDONNELL: Well, first I do want to thank Governor Romney who called me yesterday and agreed to cancel three events in Virginia today to allow our first responders to focus on that. I appreciate it. The president is doing the same thing tomorrow.

You mentioned the Post poll. There are two other polls, both Rasmussen and Fox, that have Romney up by two. So it's -- listen, it's margin of error. It's close. And it's going to come down to turnout in the last undecided voters.

I think what Virginians and why Romney will win Virginia is because he is the one that's going to reverse these sequestration cuts. They're going to devastate the military and cost us 200,000 jobs. The president has been a bystander and won't do that.

He is the one with the plan to create jobs. And we've got 23 million people that don't have jobs nationally and eight -- excuse me -- $16 trillion in debt. That's what Virginians are really concerned about and why there's been this momentum towards Governor Romney.

The mishandling of the situation in Benghazi, Libya, no answers, no transparency 45 days after the fact is a great concern. Either the president gave an order that was disobeyed by the Secretary of Defense to provide support in Benghazi or he didn't. And I think people want answers before this election on that, so that's what's going to determine the outcome.

We got a great ground game, and I expect Governor Romney to win a close election in Virginia, Candy.

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