Bob McDonnell’s campaign is looking spicy.
At a recent campaign stop at the Eden Center, a Vietnamese strip mall in Falls Church, Virginia, McDonnell visited no less than half a dozen Vietnamese restaurants famous for dishing up pho soup, noodle salad, and fried rice.
“I love the food,” he said.
He also loves the votes: an estimated 20,000 Vietnamese Americans reside in Virginia, most in the northern region from where McDonnell hails. They championed his support of Asian American concerns with small businesses, education, and safety.
“We are here to support a good person,” said Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao (R-La.), the only Vietnamese member of Congress, who was in campaigning for McDonnell during the last week of the campaign. “A very strong leader...We are speaking of someone who is very pro-business, someone who is willing to work together.”
It was the McDonnell campaign’s third trip to the Eden Center, which was chock full of clothing shops, nail salons, jewelers and knick-knack shops in addition to the numerous restaurants. McDonnell’s press secretary said the campaign had missed a few shops their first two visits, and wanted to cover their bases. One can only imagine the amount of tapioca fruit shakes and green tea imbibed.
McDonnell has been polling at 11-18 percentage points above Democrat Creigh Deeds, who has been attacking McDonnell on education policy. The charge is that McDonnell’s transportation plan sucks money from Virginia schools.
McDonnell has launched a series of rebuttals in response, and seized the opportunity on Tuesday at the Eden Center to highlight his commitment to education. He said that hard work and family unity were key Asian American values, and also reasons he supports education.
He also focused on jobs, crediting the region’s diversity with the proliferation of new jobs, saying it was a “tremendous new class of entrepreneurs.” Limited government, low taxes, and less government regulation were emphasized as he walked around what literally was a mecca of small business development at the Eden Center.
With an endorsement from the Vietnamese American National Chamber of Commerce, McDonnell used Cao as an example of Asian American achievement,
"Congressman Cao is the kind of "only in America" success story that reminds us how fortunate we are to call this great nation home. His life demonstrates the incredible opportunities available here to anyone who works hard, plays by the rules and pursues their dreams.
The Virginians who attended the event weren’t necessarily focused on jobs, however.
Dr. Thao Dang, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Falls Church, came to ask McDonnell about increased caps for medial liability insurance. Dottie Clayton, a resident of northern Virginia for over eighteen years, said she liked McDonnell’s social policies, energy policies, and his plan to privatize liquor stores to raise money for the state. But she especially liked his character.
“You look at his family, and that’s all you need to know,” said Clayton.