As a rule, those who want to be considered as running mates for their party's national ticket are supposed to be subtle. They generally drop hints behind the scenes, for example, quietly sending word that they'd like to be considered.
Virginia Gov. Bob "Ultrasound" McDonnell (R) isn't being subtle at all. After months in which he's expressed interest in the gig in televised interviews, the Republican governor announced last week he'd air positive television ads about himself in the coming weeks. Since McDonnell can't run for re-election in Virginia, the move almost certainly related to his desire to improve his standing during the Romney campaign's VP search.
Maybe that wasn't an obvious enough signal? McDonnell is apparently so eager to be considered that he's even shifting slightly on his opposition to abortion rights.
As a legislator, attorney general and governor, Robert F. McDonnell has said he opposes abortion in all but one instance: if continuing the pregnancy would put the woman's life in danger.
But McDonnell, a possible vice presidential candidate, recently said through his spokesman that he would also allow it in cases of rape or incest.
The statement has prompted many supporters and opponents to believe that he has modified one of his core political stances.
The president of the Virginia Society for Human Life, which had endorsed McDonnell's Virginia campaign, was "shocked" by the governor's shift, while the executive director of Virginians for Life added that McDonnell has "either flip-flopped or not being honest.''
For his part, the governor's spokesperson said this position has been what McDonnell has believed for 20 years. Why have media accounts showed otherwise all this time? Because McDonnell just didn't get around to correcting the record at any point since 1994.
For the record, Governor Ultrasound, a graduate of radical televangelist Pat Robertson's college, sponsored or co-sponsored 35 bills to restrict abortion rights during his 14 years in the House of Delegates, and as governor, he backed state-mandated, medically-unnecessary, transvaginal ultrasounds until his position became a political nightmare.
It is, in other words, a little late in the game for McDonnell to inch away from the extreme, no matter how badly he wants to be on the GOP 2012 ticket.