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Governor addresses gift controversy, defends record

By Joe Dashiell, jdashiell@wdbj7.com
Published On: Dec 12 2013 07:42:15 PM EST
Updated On: Dec 12 2013 10:40:18 PM EST

Bob McDonnell sat down with WDBJ7 this week for an exclusive end-of-term interview

RICHMOND, Va. -

Governor Bob McDonnell remains under investigation, even as he prepares to leave office. With days left in his term, McDonnell is making the case that his administration shouldn't be defined by the gift controversy he's faced over the last several months.

WDBJ7 sat down with the Governor this week at the Executive Mansion in Richmond.

McDonnell said he was "very saddened" by the perceptions he created.

And he told us that's why he returned gifts, repaid loans and issued an apology.

"What would you have done differently," we asked.

"Well, you know some of those gifts that were offered, perhaps I wouldn't have accepted," he said. "I think I have been so busy focusing on the business of the state, I should have paid more attention to some things that maybe I missed."

McDonnell said he never traded favors for the loans and gifts he received from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.

Asked if he feared if the continuing investigation will define his administration in the eyes of many Virginians, McDonnell said he would let them decide.  "I think Virginians are fair-minded," McDonnell said in our interview, "and they look at the entire term."

"We've gotten a number of things done that people appreciate, that have made a difference in their lives, not the least of which are things like transportation," McDonnell said.

"I think at the end of the day, they're more concerned about those things than they are about some temporary lapses."

WDBJ7 will air more from our interview with Governor McDonnell in the days leading up to the inauguration of Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe. And we've included an extended excerpt with this story.