- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Government OKs Arab-owned company to operate U.S. cargo port
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell’s wife had ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House unveils bill to speed deportations of illegal immigrant children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
Campus tour brings Obama to University of Virginia
Question of the Day
President Obama is bringing his counter-GOP convention tour Wednesday to the dead-heat battle for Virginia, a state where he enjoyed a historic win in 2008 but where he and fellow Democrats have faced a series of obstacles and setbacks ever since.
Mr. Obama knows he can count on Northern Virginia, a reliable liberal stronghold, while the southernmost areas are ruby-red Republican.
It’s what happens in the counties in between that matters, and Charlottesville, home to the University of Virginia and thousands of students who helped hand Mr. Obama a 5-point edge four years ago, could play a key role in keeping the state in Mr. Obama’s win column in November.
In the final two months of the campaign, Mr. Obama needs the energy and commitment of younger voters to help him with his ground game — knocking on doors and getting out the vote — so he is headed to Charlottesville on Wednesday just one day after he made the same direct appeal to college students at Colorado State University.
Polls show Mr. Obama still leading Republican rival Mitt Romney with college-age voters, but the president faces the added challenge this year of trying to convince young people of his economic credentials as they prepare to enter a shaky job market, while Mr. Romney says the president has not lived up to his promises on job creation.
Striving to overcome the shaky economic outlook, Mr. Obama during stops at colleges in Iowa and Colorado on Tuesday focused on issues he thought might play well with the college crowd — clean energy, lower costs for student loans, health care, contraception, gay marriage, and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But the president has a tougher row to hoe in Virginia, where Republicans have regrouped since 2008 and Democrats have suffered a series of blows.
Just one year after Mr. Obama’s 2008 win in the state, Creigh Deeds, the Democratic candidate for governor, lost decisively to GOP rival Bob McDonnell. Mr. Deeds enjoyed rocky relations with the White House, which considered him a weak candidate who failed to reach out to key constituencies that contributed to Mr. Obama’s victory.
By 2010, after the passage of the president’s health care law, the political pendulum had swung so far to the right that Republicans picked up three House seats, ousting freshmen Democratic Reps. Glenn Nye and Tom Perriello, who sailed to election on Mr. Obama’s coattails in 2008, as well as veteran Rep. Rick Boucher, who was first elected in 1982.
Mr. Perriello, whose district includes Charlottesville but stretches to the North Carolina border, lost despite Mr. Obama’s help — and some observers argue because of it.
“The health care law was extremely unpopular in the state — still is, as a matter of fact,” said Chris LaCivita, a veteran Republican campaign operative who has run numerous races in the state. “Tom Perriello was basically Obama’s ‘Mini-Me’ in that part of the state, and he was defeated.”
In addition to large pockets of Northern Virginia, the president can count on the support of most black voters, who make up 20 percent of the state’s voters, as well as the Democratic strongholds of Richmond and Charlottesville, so the race will be a tough fight until the end.
Other GOP-leaning areas, such as Lynchburg, Danville and Martinsville, have been hard hit by the economy and the loss of manufacturing jobs. Mr. Obama’s environmental policies have alienated other voters in the western part of the state who depend on the coal industry and paper mills.
In 2008, Mr. Obama attracted voters in the Hampton Roads area, a military stronghold with a high black population. But this year, the communities in that area, which are dependent on the military and robust defense spending, are bracing for budget cuts and blame Democrats more than Republicans for the predicament that threatens the local economy.
“Mr. Romney and [Republican Senate candidate George] Allen are using the coming defense cuts very effectively in the area,” said Ray Allen, a longtime Republican strategist in Virginia. “The largest naval base in the free world is in Norfolk and the military is strongly against [Mr. Obama] this time around. But it’s more than that — the whole economy there depends on the military. It permeates the culture and the coming cuts will devastate the economy down there.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP senators want IG probe of Sebelius' 'Obamacare' fundraising
- Teaming up with Christie, Obama says Jersey shore 'back in business'
- No Moore: Obama flubs name of Oklahoma city devastated by tornado, calls it 'Monroe'
- Obama to Okla. tornado victims: 'We have got your back'
- Aide involved in Benghazi talking points scrubbing promoted by Obama
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- PHILLIPS: Once-in-a-century stupidity
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world