First on NBC29: McDonnell Not Invited to Obama Event

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) was not invited to a presidential visit to Falls Church on Tuesday at which President Barack Obama was scheduled to talk about his “Race to the Top” schools initiative.

Taylor Thornley, McDonnell’s deputy press secretary, confirmed late Monday night that the governor — inaugurated last weekend — had not received an invitation.

When I asked McDonnell about the event, following his address to a joint session of the General Assembly, he seemed unaware of it.

“I would like to be,” he said, when asked if the White House extended him an invitation.

During his speech to legislators, McDonnell referenced Mr. Obama’s initiative, which was also one of the Republican’s favorite campaign trail talking points.

The “Race to the Top” divides grant money to states based on support for school reform policies. McDonnell said he recently applied for $350 million from the program.

“That is a tremendous amount of money we could apply to the next fiscal year and put towards ensuring educational excellence here in the Commonwealth,” he said to lawmakers Monday night.

Governors and local leaders are often invited to attend presidential events, particularly ones where there is common ground — as there is between Mr. Obama and McDonnell on education issues.

Calls to the White House seeking comment were not immediately returned.

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