This does not quite pass the smell test with me either. Pay close attention to this paragraph...
Those questions have been decided, was his response. The public wants an expanded federal role in those areas, and the Republican Party at the highest levels has decided to give the public what it wants.
Unless there is a typo, everythinng after "was his response" is paraphrasing by the paper, due to the lack of quotation marks.
That said, I'd feel a heck of a lot better hearing Gillespie clarifying this himself.
They are a newspaper, you'd think they this has been grammatically vetted by the editorial board and other editors, unless the froth coming out the editors mouth who wrote this smudged the quotation marks.