- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 1, 2012

Three days before the start of the Democratic National Convention, President Obama on Saturday noted the second anniversary of the withdrawal of U.S. fighting forces from Iraq and touted the ongoing drawdown of troops in Afghanistan.

“With no Americans fighting in Iraq, it’s my privilege on behalf of a grateful nation to once again congratulate these men and women on a job well done,” the president said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

“This anniversary is a chance to appreciate how far we’ve come. But it’s also a reminder that there is still difficult work ahead of us in Afghanistan.”

The president, who visited Fort Bliss, Texas, on Friday to announce an expansion of mental health services and suicide prevention efforts for veterans, congratulated American forces for rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan.

But it’s time, the president said Saturday, to focus on rebuilding at home.

“It’s time to build a nation that lives up to the ideals that so many Americans have fought for — a nation where they can realize the dream they sacrificed to protect. We need to rebuild our roads and runways and ports. We need to lay broadband lines across this country and put our veterans back to work as cops and firefighters in communities that need them. And we need to come together to make America a place where hard work is rewarded and anyone willing to put in the effort can make it if they try.”

The president was scheduled later Saturday to return to Iowa, kicking-off the first of several days of swing-state campaign appearances ahead of his acceptance of the Democratic Party’s nomination for a second term at next week’s convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Mr. Obama is also scheduled to campaign Sunday in Colorado before making a stop in Louisiana on Monday to see the damage from Hurricane Isaac.