| VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Sept 27
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Sept 27 President Barack
Obama called on Thursday for a new "economic patriotism" as he
sought to win over military voters in Virginia, a critical state
in his bid for re-election.
Obama said it was patriotic to support policies that he said
would help middle-income voters, whose support his campaign is
targeting in the Nov. 6 election.
"During campaign season you always hear a lot about
patriotism. Well, you know what? It's time for a new economic
patriotism. An economic patriotism rooted in the belief that
growing our economy begins with a strong and thriving middle
class," Obama told a crowd of some 7,000 in Virginia Beach, home
to several military bases.
"And I won't pretend that getting there is easy. The truth
is it's going to take a few more years to solve challenges that
were building up over decades, but I want everyone here to
understand, our problems can be solved," he said.
The patriotism angle was a new line in Obama's campaign
speech and was likely aimed at the state's large population of
veterans. The message was consistent with his theme of promoting
tax policies and social programs that support the middle class.
The Democratic President's campaign has sought to portray
Republican challenger Mitt Romney, a wealthy former private
equity executive, as out of touch with average Americans and as
a proponent of policies that benefit the rich.
Democratic Senator Jim Webb, a former Marine who introduced
the president, heaped criticism on Romney for failing to mention
veterans during his speech at the Republican National Convention
Virginia is one of a handful of swing states that could
decide the election. Obama has traveled to the state 14 times
this year, according to his campaign, and Romney was speaking in
northern Virginia at around the same time on Thursday.
Obama won Virginia in 2008, the first time the state went to
the Democrat in a presidential election since 1964. He has a
lead now of 4.5 percentage points, according to an average of
polls by RealClearPolitics.
Obama's campaign released a new, 2-minute television ad on
Thursday featuring the president talking directly to the camera
about his record and his plans for a second term.
"When I took office, we were losing nearly eight hundred
thousand jobs a month, and were mired in Iraq," Obama says in
the ad. "Today, I believe that as a nation we are moving forward
again. But we have much more to do to get folks back to work and
make the middle class secure again.
The ad will air in Virginia as well as in other battleground
states New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, and Colorado.
Romney's campaign responded with an attack on Obama's record
on the deficit.
"Four years ago, Barack Obama called it 'unpatriotic' to run
up debts our children will have to pay. Yet in the time it takes
his latest ad to run, our national debt grows by at least
another $5 million," spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.
"Mitt Romney will strengthen the middle class, create 12
million new jobs and deliver what President Obama hasn't - a