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McDonnell says upcoming debate on domestic policy of particular import

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Gov. Bob McDonnell said Monday on MSNBC that the upcoming presidential debate is particularly important because it’s focused on domestic policy, “which overwhelmingly is the critical issue in the race.”

“And it’s the first time that Americans will actually get to see Mitt Romney and Barack Obama side by side and not only hear their words, and assess their styles and their candor, but also get to hear the ideas,” McDonnell said on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports.

McDonnell said the race comes down to President Barack Obama’s record on jobs, gas prices, debt management, energy, compared to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s vision and ideas for the future.

“So, it’s very important,” McDonnell said. “The last couple weeks there’s been a little bit of a movement for the president. But, listen, speeches don’t create jobs, rhetoric doesn’t create jobs — good ideas do. ”

Obama and Romney are slated to debate three times, with the first event on Wednesday night in Denver. Recent polling by Quinnipiac University-New York Times-CBS News show Obama leading in the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Obama maintains a slim edge over Romney in Virginia, 50-46 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University-New York Times-CBS News poll taken Sept. 11-17.

Mitchell pressed McDonnell, a top Romney surrogate, for specifics on Romney’s tax plan, asking “where is the math” and whether Romney will be under pressure in the debate to produce specifics as to how the plan adds up.

“It’s a laughable question,” McDonnell said. “Where’s the president’s plan? He’s had four years. Twenty three million people don’t have work so let’s start with that.”