Bob McDonnell: I stand with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell expressed support for his Wisconsin counterpart, Gov. Scott Walker, in an interview with CBS News Monday night, arguing that "every governor's got tough choices to make."
"We've got to set priorities, we've got to make government more accountable and I think Gov. Walker realizes that means state employees have got to pay a little bit more for their benefits," McDonnell said. "I'm asking our state employees to do more this year, so I support what he's doing."
Walker warned of layoffs Tuesday after two weeks of public workers protests against his proposals to end collective bargaining rights.
McDonnell said he inherited a $4 billion deficit when he became governor a year ago, which he turned into a surplus by cutting spending.
"We made tough choices, what I think the president failed to do this time," McDonnell said. "That's what Scott Walker and many other governors, Republican and Democrat, are doing is to say we can't afford to do things the same way."
Regarding reports that he may be seeking the Republican vice presidential nomination, McDonnell told CBS News he's "not campaigning for anything."
"I'd just like to be part of the national debate on the issues of spending and fiscal responsibility," he said. Though he said 2012 is "so far down the road," McDonnell did say there are "four or five great [Republican presidential] candidates right now, most of whom are former governors or current governors."
McDonnell refused to offer specific names but did say that "governors make great chief executives." Among the former and current governors considering a run for the GOP nomination are Mitt Romney, Mitch Daniels and Tim Pawlenty.
CBS News spoke with McDonnell at a President's Day "Thanks USA" event for veterans and military families in Virginia. The governor's eldest daughter served in the Army, service that included a tour in Iraq.
"Military families so much appreciate the love, support and prayers," McDonnell said. "If you know you're supported, you're going to work harder, you're going to be more focused on your mission."