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GOP Convention A Big Moment For Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell

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With a prominent slot at the Republican National Convention, Bob McDonnell will be looking to raise his national profile.
Gage Skidmore (http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/4379679497/)
With a prominent slot at the Republican National Convention, Bob McDonnell will be looking to raise his national profile.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is set to deliver a keynote address Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention. McDonnell is seen as a rising star in the Republican Party, someone who was on the short-list for the vice presidential spot on Mitt Romney's ticket  and someone with a future of his own. There's quite a bit at stake for him in Tampa.

"He has presented himself as a bipartisan-style leader who can talk to people across the political aisle who doesn t engage in overheated rhetoric, and, frankly, a lot of people are looking for that these days," says George Mason University professor Mark Rozell. Next year will be his last as governor, and Rozell says McDonnell has positioned himself to have a strong claim for the Republican nomination after that.

But the governor will not have it easy, especially after the heated debate this year about a proposal to require invasive ultrasounds before abortions in the state.

"Everybody remembers the transvaginal ultrasound controversy," says Rozell. "I don t think that's going to go away; he's got some explaining to do on some of the social-issues agenda where he could be vulnerable."

One social issue grabbing headlines this week is a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion without specific exceptions for rape or incest, which is part of the platform for this year's convention. McDonnell, who chairs the Republican platform committee, says it "reflects the views of the grassroots leaders of the Republican Party."

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