- Iran touts new laser that bolsters missile accuracy
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Deadly N.Y. train derailment leads to Senate call for cameras at tracks
- WWII vet, 90, en route to Pearl Harbor event booted from flight
- SWAT team at Phoenix hospital as armed man clears emergency room
- Kim Jong-un’s uncle dragged from political meeting, booted from party
- Big storm dumps snow on East Coast, travel dicey
- Thai prime minister dissolves Parliament, calls elections
- Hagel to meet with Pakistan’s prime minister
- Kiev: Riot police deployed near protest sites
In Virginia Beach, Obama says vets aren’t ‘victims’
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — President Obama played to an enthusiastic crowd in the military stronghold of Virginia Beach Thursday, promising to bring about a "new economic patriotism" and hailing veterans and military families as valued members of the middle class.
Alluding to GOP rival Mitt Romney's secretly recorded quotes from a spring fundraiser describing 47 percent of country as dependent on the government and paying no taxes, Mr. Obama appeared to build on a Democratic point that combat veterans overseas also don't pay taxes and thus would be part of the Republican's 47 percent.
"I don't think we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as victims," he said. "I don't see victims [in Virginia Beach]. I see all kinds of military veterans who served their country and those military families who love their loved ones when they come back home safe and sound. ... That's what I see."
At the mention of military families, one woman shouted exuberantly shouted: "Right here!"
Mr. Romney was also campaigning in Virginia Thursday, addressing a rally in Springfield in Northern Virginia shortly before Mr. Obama spoke.
The visit to the tidewater area of Virginia was a homecoming of sorts for Mr. Obama who captured the Democratic-leaning cities along the harbor — Hampton, Newport News and Portsmouth in 2008 with margins exceeding 60 percent. He also split the Republican-leaning cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, winning the former and barely losing Virginia Beach, home to the world' largest Navy base, as well as Air Force, Marine and Army bases.
Even though troops and veterans are considered a reliable part of the Republican base, Mr. Obama is aggressively pursuing the veterans' vote to help him keep the crucial swing state of Virginia in his camp in November, and an average of recent polls on realclearpolitics.com gives him a 4.5 point advantage in the state.
Still, with so many people connected to the defense industry or economically reliant on it, military cuts are a big concern in Hampton Roads, as the region braces for hundreds of billions of dollars in automatic Pentagon spending cuts if Congress cannot break the budget impasse by the end of the year.
If the Mitt Romney signs speckling neighborhoods around the outdoor amphitheater near Naval Air Station Oceana where Mr. Obama spoke are any indication, the Democrat still has some convincing to do when it comes to military voters in the area.
Mr. Romney has spent plenty of time along the Norfolk waterfront, where he chose to announce his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, last month with a battleship as the backdrop, and visited just last week advocating for an increase in fighter production.
In Springfield, Mr. Romney pointed to a new Bureau of Economic Analysis report revising down the nation's economic growth during the spring 1.3 percent annual rate, down from its previous estimate of 1.7 percent.
Mr. Obama didn't comment on the even weaker revised number, instead rolling out a new campaign theme, promising "a new economic patriotism that growing our economy begins with growing a strong middle class."
The Romney campaign quickly pointed out the omission out after the president's remarks, noting that even Russia's economy is growing at about 4 percent.
Mr. Obama on Thursday steered clear of any mention of the revised economic report or pending defense cuts, turning instead to an attractive advocate for his re-election and an appropriate messenger for the audience: retiring Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, a highly decorated Vietnam combat veteran and a former secretary of the Navy.
Acknowledging that, at times, he and Mr. Obama disagreed probably "once a week," Mr. Webb, an independent-minded Democrat and author of the updated GI bill, gave an impassioned endorsement of the president's re-election bid.
Mr. Webb said voters are "fed up with unnecessary military ventures" in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We've got a busted economy. They want to know that their education will lead to a decent job that their retirement years will be protected, that their children and grandchildren will live in the most prosperous nation in the world," he said. "If you want those guarantees, my advice to you is you better be voting for Barack Obama."
Writing off Mr. Romney as someone "whose view on foreign policy seems awkward and uniformed," he also accused the Republican challenger of failing to understand that "many on government assistance today want to live the American dream just as much as those who already have it."
Veterans, he said, who receive benefits "are not takers."
"They are givers in the ultimate sense of the word," he said, referring to the saying in the Marines, "All gave some; some gave all. That is not taking."
© Copyright 2013 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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'
- Amid his own challenges, Obama calls on Navy grads to hold themselves accountable
Latest Blog Entries
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- EDITORIAL: Health care hardball
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- South Carolina sheriff refuses to lower American flag for Nelson Mandela
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
- FENNO: Mike Shanahan's empty words no salve to free-falling Redskins
- POWELL: The Fed's scandalous monetary policy
- As the unemployed wait, lawmakers debate about extended benefits
- Sen. Rand Paul: Supreme Court needs to re-examine Fourth Amendment
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Understanding economic events with a free market explanation
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Let it snow
White House pets gone wild!