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CNN "Newsroom" - Transcript


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BOLDUAN: It was a late night but an exciting night for all of us, John. Bob McDonnell is the Republican governor of Virginia, and was -- and has been a very strong surrogate for Mitt Romney during his presidential campaign.

Governor, thanks so much for getting up and joining us this morning.


BOLDUAN: No problem. Over the weekend you predicted a razor thin win for Mitt Romney. Have you spoken to Governor Romney after his loss last night?

MCDONNELL: Well, I was -- I was obviously wrong. No, I have not spoken to Governor Romney. I spoke with the Senator Allen. And it was a tough night. I thought Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were very good men, would have been good leaders. But the President, you know, we're in a poor economy, did a very good job articulating his message and having a very good ground game, they beat us on the ground. And I thought we'd win, close, we close loss. Half the margin of 2008 but they did a good job.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk specifically about your state, Virginia. A key swing state. You were on CNN "STARTING POINT" the morning of the election, just yesterday morning. And you were asked by Soledad what signs you'd be looking for of a Romney win in Virginia.

I want to remind you of what you said even though I'm sure (INAUDIBLE). Listen here.


BOLDUAN: And as I mentioned in those counties last night. Prince William County which went for Obama.


BOLDUAN: Essentially the same percentage than it did in 2008. He all of those counties that you mentioned, what would you say are the big lessons that you learned about your state from this loss for Romney last night?

MCDONNELL: Well, there was a piece of good news. And as we won eight out of the 11 congressional races, Kate, in Virginia. So at the more local level, Republicans did very well. but overall we've got more work to do up in the northern Virginia beltway area.

I was fortunate to do well up there in 2009. But those are the greatest number of independent voters who will vote the issue and vote the person as opposed to the party. And we're losing the exchange up there, as you see in Fairfax, Prince William and Loudon.

So, we've got to do a better job and explaining to people why the conservative view of America is better for them and their pocketbook. And we apparently didn't do it well enough. But we'll get better.

BOLDUAN: Yes, many lessons learned from last night, obviously.

I want to bring in John Avlon, one of our contributors with a question -- John.

AVLON: Governor, you're a broadly popular governor of a swing state. You're also associated with the social conservative wing of your party.

Here's my question. What lessons should the Republican Party take from the loss of people like Akin and Mourdock, the states that Mitt Romney won double digits, but those in part because of their social conservative positions on abortion lost a split-ticket voters voting against them. What lessons do you take? Is it a problem of politics or is it a problem of policy?

MCDONNELL: Yes, I don't think there's any surprise that the Republican Party is pro-life. I'm pro-life. The Democratic Party is pro-choice.

But a couple of candidates that lost made mistakes in how they communicated their pro-life position. And you can't do that. So, that's -- it's more of a -- I don't think people will hold deeply held beliefs against you as long as you're right on the issues. The big issues they care about, jobs, economy, energy, spending, debt.

So, we made some mistakes. I can tell you, you know, look at nationally, we're at 30 governors now. That's 60 percent of America's governors probably, pick up one or two more in Montana and Washington state.

So, at the local level, our folks are doing well, that are pro-life and fiscally conservative. But we have to do better at the national level, the Presidential races.

BOLDUAN: All right. Governor McDonnell, thanks so much for your time this morning -- Republican governor of Virginia.



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