February 17th, 2010
11:28 AM ET

CNN Fact Check: Stimulus 'hypocrisy' in Virginia? Not really.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/01/27/sotu.gop.response/story.mcdonnell.pool.jpg caption="Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell touted $24 million in Recovery Act grants for getting health records computerized." width=300 height=169]

Matt Smith

Democrats have made political hay in recent days by singling out Republicans who have criticized the Obama administration's economic stimulus bill while touting its benefits to constituents back home. The latest target is Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who this week touted $24 million in Recovery Act grants for getting health records computerized.

"The federal funding awarded to Virginia will allow us to develop an information technology system that will safeguard our ability to track health records and provide our physicians with the technological tools they need to provide the highest quality service possible," McDonnell said in a statement issued by his office. "I thank U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius for approving Virginia's application for cooperative funding and also for advancing such a critical issue."

Ahead of Wednesday's anniversary of President Barack Obama signing the $862 billion measure, the Democratic Party highlighted McDonnell's praise for the grants and accused him of "gross hypocrisy."

Fact Check: Was Virginia's governor against the stimulus before he was for it?
- McDonnell did criticize the stimulus bill, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, while running for governor in 2009. But McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin told CNN that the grants Virginia accepted Monday were applied for by the previous governor. That would be Tim Kaine, now chairman of the Democratic Party.

- Martin said Kaine requested the health care grants in late 2009, before leaving office. McDonnell took office in January.

- Martin told CNN that McDonnell has not rejected any stimulus money yet but he is reviewing what the state is scheduled to receive. While he criticized the Recovery Act, he told The Washington Post in February 2009 that he would accept stimulus money because it originated with taxpayers.

- Over the past week, Democrats have criticized a raft of GOP officeholders who took credit for stimulus-funded projects in their districts after opposing the bill. Among the more prominent Republicans targeted have been Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley and South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson - who became famous by shouting "You lie!" at Obama during a September speech to Congress.

- Obama entered the fray two weeks ago, telling an audience in New Hampshire that "some of the very same folks in Congress who opposed the Recovery Act, and claim that it hasn't worked, have been all too happy to claim credit for Recovery Act projects in their districts and the jobs those projects have produced."

Bottom Line: There may be many Republicans who can be criticized for taking money from a Recovery Act they voted against, but McDonnell - who wasn't in Congress to vote and has said he was willing to take the cash - isn't one of them.

- CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report.

Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Tim Gibson

    See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Is it Capital Hill or the Wild Animal Park?

    February 17, 2010 at 11:54 am |