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In 2010, the political world pegged Bob McDonnell as a president in the making. Last year, they put him on every VP list. As recently as May, they called the popular Virginia governor a political model for his would-be successors in Richmond, Democrat and Republican alike.

And now – well, now nobody’s sure what to call Bob McDonnell.

Suddenly under legal and political siege, McDonnell is the subject of one of the swiftest downfalls in recent memory: once known as a spotlessly clean, law-and-order politician, the governor stands accused of questionable financial dealings that range from the tacky to the jaw-dropping.

The McDonnell saga has gripped Richmond – and increasingly Washington – as a cascade of embarrassing disclosures have buffeted the governor and his wife, Maureen. A series of Washington Post stories have documented their cozy relationship with a donor, Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, who gave financial gifts to the McDonnell family including a cumulative $120,000 in the form of a check to Maureen McDonnell and a cash infusion to a family company.

“This is not the Bob I know,” said former Virginia Rep. Tom Davis, who called the whole grim story wildly at odds with the larger arc of McDonnell’s career. “He is one of the most ethical guys I’ve ever worked with.”

Said Davis: “I’ve seen Bob in situations where a lot of other politicians would cross lines, and Bob has never gotten close to them. If what is reported is accurate, it is not in keeping with what I’ve seen in 20 years of knowing him.”

Democratic state Sen. Creigh Deeds, who ran unsuccessfully against McDonnell in statewide elections for both governor and attorney general, was just as incredulous.

“I’ve run two campaigns against the guy [and] I can tell you, I’m totally surprised. I’m just shocked,” Deeds said. “He had the world in his hands. He had everything in the palm of his hands and a very bright future. And now – now I don’t know.”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/bob-mcdonnell-fall-from-grace-94061.html#ixzz2Ypkcke5c

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