Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell Then: Stimulus Bad. Now: Thanks For The Cash!

Roll Call P/Newscom

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is now offering effusive praise for $24 million in federal funds that allowed him to establish an office of Health Information Technology and to fund a program helping Virginia doctors transition to electronic medical records.

Just one problem – he thinks the government shouldn’t have spent that money to begin with.

One year ago, McDonnell told reporters the stimulus plan “is not going to be good long-term for America,” though he did say according to the Virginian-Pilot that the Commonwealth should still “collect its share of the stimulus anyway.”

Last summer, the Roanoke Times reported that McDonnell said the stimulus created more problems than it solved.

Yesterday, McDonnell (R) lauded Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for “advancing such a critical issue.”“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,” he said of the grants, both of which were funded through the recovery act.

McDonnell’s office tells me this morning the funds were requested by the last administration and sends along this post noting he’d take the stimulus funds.

But the have it both ways mentality is a point the Democrats are going to continue to press through the midterm Congressional elections. As we’ve reported exclusively, Democratic operatives have a thick book of examples where Republicans who voted against or publicly balked at the stimulus plan championed the funds.

They plan to pull it out as often as possible, starting this week since it’s the one-year anniversary of Obama signing the $787 billion measure.

And McDonnell’s latest was added to the bunch. DNC Chairman Tim Kaine (McDonnell’s predecessor in Virginia) is hosting a conference call today to highlight the hypocrisy.

“It’s typical of Republicans to call ‘critical’ locally what they attack as a ‘waste’ nationally,” said DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan, calling it a pattern of “gross hypocrisy which has irrevocably tainted Republican credibility on the stimulus and spending.”

Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) also has been targeted. The DNC reminded reporters that Pawlenty told Bloomberg Television in August the funds in the stimulus were “largely wasted” and “misdirected.”

But the Star Tribune reported today that one third of Pawlenty’s fix to his state’s budget relies on $387 million in stimulus funds.

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