We're still hoping Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell will be a guest on our show, sometime, maybe, hopefully, please. Today, though, McDonnell did talk with Andrea Mitchell for her show. As you'll see from the transcript below, Andrea started right in with a question about Mitt Romney -- the candidate he supports -- and the Romney response to Rush Limbaugh's tirades against Sandra Fluke and birth control.
Shorter McDonnell: President Obama started this, please stop talking about my forced vaginal probe ultrasound bill, and seriously, please stop talking about my forced vaginal probe ultrasound bill.
Transcript's after the jump.
McDonnell says the left does wrong, too:
Andrea Mitchell: I wanted to talk about the campaign and this whole issue of women and how Mitt Romney did not come out and strongly criticize what Rush Limbaugh said. What is your position on what Rush Limbaugh said?
Bob McDonnell: Well, there's a lot of comments, I think, probably on the right and the left about important social issues that people probably say things that they shouldn't. I think Rush Limbaugh said things he probably shouldn't. He apologized for it. We see a lot of things in debates here in Richmond and in Washington where people on the left say things as well. So I think the issue in this campaign, though, Andrea, really it's about jobs and the economy and taxes and spending. So while these important issues about life and family and faith and marriage and religious freedom are important – people want to know where you stand – I think most importantly people want to know what are you going to do about getting us back to work, what are you going to do about getting us out of debt and how are you going to lead the nation into the next century. That's what people want.
McDonnell says President Obama started it:
Mitchell: But isn't that message getting lost precisely because the Republicans have detoured into some of the social debate? Rick Santorum certainly is the one who started it, but some are suggesting, and some women are suggesting – Republican women – that Mitt Romney's response was not strong and declarative enough.
McDonnell: I can't speak for all the candidates, I can only say that I think that those kinds of over-the-top condemnations have no place. I talk all the time in Richmond about having more civility. We need to be fighting for our principles on both sides, but we're all American. Let's do it in a civil way. I would say, Andrea, really, that this started probably a month ago when President Obama decided to have essentially an attack on religious freedom, and people in the Catholic church responded fairly negatively about some of these things that interfered with their religious freedom. Look, it's been a month, I think, where people have weighed in on these social issues. But that's not what's going to control this election. It's going to be about jobs and the economy, taxes, spending, energy and leadership. That's what American needs new leadership on and that's why I'm supporting Mitt Romney.
And if Governor McDonnell can't stop talking about the ultrasound bill, he'll try this:
Mitchell: As much as Mitt Romney, your campaign and Republicans in general want to frame it on the economy, again, our own polling, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal polling, indicates that women really are reacting and that there's been a big swing in suburban women. That's a big issue in Virginia, as to who should be supported in Congress, so that Republicans in Congress could in fact be affected, perhaps, by the debate that you all had in Richmond over what was basically legislation that would require invasive sonograms.
McDonnell: Well, Andrea, the bill you're talking about is an ultrasound bill that 23 states already have a bill that requires a woman to be offered the ability to see an ultrasound before making a life-changing decision. So when that bill goes into effect, it'll be, I think, in the mainstream of the states in that regard.
Note that Governor McDonnell talks about bills that require a woman to be offered an ultrasound, but Virginia's bill requires her to have one regardless of whether she wants to or her doctor recommends it. For further reference, the Guttmacher Institute keeps this list (pdf) of states that have some form of ultrasound legislation.
P.S. The NBC/WSJ poll Andrea references is here, with responses about who should control Congress on page 13 and responses about birth control on page 27.