Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell waves to the crowd after delivering his final State of the Commonwealth address before a joint session of the 2014 General Assembly at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. McDonnell leaves office on Saturday.
In Virginia, outgoing Governor Bob McDonnell delivered his final state of the commonwealth address last night to a packed House chamber in Richmond. Surprising many, McDonnell delivered an apology for the scandal that has engulfed his administration in its final year.
Many people were expecting the governor to avoid the subject altogether, focusing on the traditional list of accomplishments for an outgoing administration. And although his speech included plenty of achievements that any governor would be proud to claim, McDonnell paused for a moment near the end of the speech to acknowledge the elephant in the chamber.
"I've always worked tirelessly to do the very best for the people of Virginia. I've set exceptionally high standards for myself. But as a flawed human being, I've sometimes fallen short of my own expectations," he said.
As McDonnell leaves the Governor's Mansion, a federal investigation continues into gifts a wealthy Virginia businessman gave the governor and his family. That investigation seems far from over as the governor steps aside this weekend. McDonnell reiterated that all the choices he made were legal, and that nobody received any special benefits during his administration.
"So tonight I say to you and to all of Virginians that I am deeply sorry for all the problems and the pain that I have caused for you during this past year," he said.
No charges have been filed yet, although the situation might change after Democratic Governor elect Terry McAuliffe moves into the Executive Mansion this weekend.