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New Virginia Governor to Deliver GOP Response to State of the Union

Newly inaugurated Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will deliver the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address on Wednesday. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner announced the selection Thursday, with Boehner saying McDonnell was the choice because of his solutions-oriented approach to putting Virginians back to work. 

"As the American people continue to ask, 'where are the jobs,' Gov. McDonnell has offered common-sense economic policies in stark contrast to Washington Democrats' job-killing agenda," Boehner said in a written statement. "We don't need a government takeover of health care or a 'cap-and-trade' national energy tax -- we need a common-sense plan to help middle-class families and small businesses and allow them to keep more of what they earn so they can save, invest and hire."

The choice to deliver the GOP response is typically reserved for rising stars who are offered the precarious platform that allows them to show their chops or break their momentum. The individual chosen to follow the president's address doesn't benefit from a live audience of lawmakers, Supreme Court justices and Cabinet officials nor does he enjoy the grandeur of the Capitol dome as a backdrop. 

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was panned for his Republican address after Obama's first joint session to Congress following his inauguration last year.

McDonnell was inaugurated as the 71st governor of Virginia last Saturday. He is one of three Republicans to win statewide election since President Obama came to office, defeating Creigh Deeds in the November gubernatorial election. 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Massachusetts Sen.-elect Scott Brown are the other recent victors.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he was anticipating the response since McDonnell's gubernatorial campaign last year resembled the president's.

"A lot of themes look similar to what the president ran on. We certainly look forward to what he has to say, Gibbs said.