Former Rep. Artur Davis, who recently switched from Democrat to Republican, has fast become a high-profile backer for Mitt Romney in Virginia as he sounds the battle cry for disaffected Democrats.
On Thursday, the former co-chairman of President Obama's 2008 campaign appeared at a home in Prince William County to highlight what he called a massive chasm between the president's promises as a candidate and his results as president.
"The candidate who talked about and pledged to cut the deficit in half has now gotten us accustomed ... to trillion-dollar deficits every single year of his presidency," said the former Alabama congressman, sitting on an off-white couch in the living room of Megan and Michael Daubert's home in Bristow, Va.
Mr. Davis said joining the Republican Party "feels very good; it feels very comfortable for all kinds of reasons."
He helped open the party's coordinated campaign Bristow headquarters on Saturday, and is expected to pop up around the commonwealth in the coming months to support Mr. Romney.
"We're thrilled to have Congressman Davis' support, and we look forward to working with him in the coming weeks and months to ensure Gov. Romney wins Virginia and America elects a president who will put jobs — not job-killing policies — first," said Curt Cashour, the Virginia spokesman for Mr. Romney's campaign.
Mr. Davis on Thursday spoke fondly of his time in the House when President Clinton was in office. Despite some rancor, responsibility on the issues of debt and deficits was part of the spirit of the Democratic Party, he said.
But, a la Ronald Reagan, he suggested that the party left him, not the other way around — that Democrats today do not toe the Clintonian line of fiscal discipline.
"That wing of the party died off a long time ago," he said. "There are Blue Dogs left in the Democratic caucus, but they can't bark. They can't really state their opinion on issues, and if they do, they're not taken terribly seriously. They're Blue Dogs without bark or bite."
Mr. Davis, who launched an unsuccessful bid to become Alabama's first black governor in 2010, is among the most high-profile political figures to split with Mr. Obama recently. He was the first congressman outside of Illinois to endorse the president in 2008, and seconded Mr. Obama's nomination at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
But he fomented bad blood among Alabama Democrats in 2010 when he declined to endorse his gubernatorial primary foe, Ron Sparks, after losing the nomination contest.
Alabama Democratic Party Chairman H. Mark Kennedy labeled Mr. Davis an "unprincipled chameleon," essentially telling him not to let the door hit him on the way out.
"Well, the RNC can have him," he said. "As for Virginia, y'all shouldn't worry too much. When he doesn't win, he will be on to the next state."
Mr. Davis has hinted that he may run for office in Virginia in 2014, 2015 or 2016. He has been in contact with party brass about supporting Mr. Romney and other Republicans on the ticket this year.
He demurred Thursday, however, when asked whether he considered himself an official campaign surrogate for Mr. Romney.
"I'm a supporter of Gov. Romney — I think he would be a very good president of the United States," he said. "Gov. Romney and the Republican Party take this issue [of debt and deficits] seriously. It's a priority. It's not just words to move a bloc of swing voters."
Some have guessed that the recent party switch and outspoken criticism of the president means Mr. Davis is angling for some sort of speaking role at the Republican National Convention in August. But he said Thursday he does not have plans to attend.
"I don't have any plans to," he said.
"I wouldn't say I wouldn't," he added.
© Copyright 2015 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.