Obama looks for veteran support in Virginia
September 27th, 2012
03:55 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama looks for veteran support in Virginia

(CNN) - On the offense in a state that has historically voted GOP in presidential elections, President Obama brought his campaign to the southern tip of Virginia Thursday and made a direct appeal to military veterans whose support he will need to carry the Old Dominion's 13 electoral votes.

"I travel around a lot in Virginia and across this country, I don't meet a lot of victims," the president told a crowd here numbering more than 7,000. "I see a whole bunch of veterans who have served this country with bravery and distinction. And I see soldiers who defend our freedom every single day."

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The comments, in reference to rival Mitt Romney's recently revealed statements that the 47% of Americans who don't pay income tax view themselves as "victims," came on the heels of a rhetorically-charged introduction by Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, himself a veteran. Webb noted that many of those Americans who don't pay taxes are those who receive veteran's benefits or active-duty members in combat.

"In receiving veteran's benefits, they are not takers," Webb said to cheers as he attacked Romney's comments. "They are givers in the ultimate sense of the word."

Veteran support is crucial to the Obama campaign's hopes of winning the state. While the president enjoys broad support in the Washington, DC suburbs that constitute northern Virginia, support for him in places like veteran-heavy Virginia Beach is considerably softer. A short 25-minute plane ride from Washington, the county is among the most divided counties in the state – and one he needs to perform well in if he is to score a repeat victory in a state that voted for every Republican presidential candidate in the four decades preceding the president's 2008 win

In 2008, Obama lost Virginia Beach County by 1 percentage point, largely because of veteran support for then-rival John McCain. But Obama campaign aides believe they have a larger opening this election with veterans in light of the president's more muscular than expected foreign policy and Romney's widely noted omission of service-member related issues in his convention address.

"They are owed, they are owed," Webb also said. "If nothing else, at least a mention, some word of thanks and respect from a presidential candidate who is their generational peer when he makes a speech accepting the nomination to be commander in chief."

Like his trip to Ohio Wednesday, Obama appears to enter this key battleground state with the wind at his back. A string of recent polls suggest the president is maintaining a narrow lead over Romney and the Obama campaign is confident wins in both Ohio and Virginia will essentially foreclose any path Romney has to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.

"If you stand with me, and work with me, we'll win the Tidewater again. We'll win Virginia again," Obama told the enthusiastic crowd packed in an outdoor pavilion that ordinarily plays hosts to top musical acts.

From here, the president is expected to spend two days in Washington before heading west to Nevada on Sunday where he will hold an evening rally and prepare for the first presidential debate next week.

Filed under: 2012
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. truth hurts

    If Obama wants the support of veterans then why is he messing around with the ability of people serving in the military to vote? Oh yeah, they usually vote Republican. Talk about voter suppression! Why doesn't the LSM cover THAT?

    September 27, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. truth hurts

    geez... yet another audience of young naive suckers for Obama to use and dump endless amounts of debt on. Usefull idiots to be sure.

    September 27, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Wake up people!

    How was he messing with the right to vote for veterans? I thought he was giving them more time. Forget it, you wouldn't know the truth if it walked up and bit you on the nose. President Obama has not tried to suppress anyone's vote, that's the GOP/baggers thing.

    OBAMA 2012!

    September 27, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. California Gary

    Funny you, of all people, should mention the word "idiots" truth hurts. Please explain how Obama is "messing around" with the miltary's right to vote.......this should be entertaining.

    September 27, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. Romney Said Let Them Eat Cake

    @truth hurts: Our young people are neither suckers or idiots. You need to get a grip because you are close to losing it.I know this truth will hurt you since truth hurts. There is another taped video just released with Romney when he was at Bain. Don't bother to respond I will not waste my time reading anymore of your posts.

    September 27, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    truth hurts

    geez... yet another audience of young naive suckers
    Those young naive suckers like you called them are part of our military and their families you analpore.

    September 27, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. The Elephant in the Room

    Mr. Obama brought soldiers home from the war. He doesn`t commit sons & daughters to die in meedless wars. The President has enhanced veterans benefits more than Republicans ever would.

    If you are a/ enlisted man, an officer, or the husband/wife/son/daughter/father/mother of one, you`d have to be a FOOL to vote for the chickenhawk, war-mongerer. Mitt Romney.

    September 27, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ truth
    Don't bother to respond I will not waste my time reading anymore of your posts
    Ditto here. We should ALL shut your posts out.

    September 27, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. yasmine

    truth hurts.. I hope the Koch brothers are paying you well...becuz you are working overtime on the spinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnning!

    September 27, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    Why would any vet support romney the tax cheat ,son of boss when his idiot runing mate lyin Ryan and the gop bafoons party voted againest the vet bill
    And the farm bill ,
    Thanks Ryan ,and what about the 60,000 campaign donation you had to return because your name turned up in a federal probe I in your home state for a casino licence ?????????

    September 27, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota


    You embarrass yourself and our Military men and women with your lies.

    September 27, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |

    @ truth, where do you come up with this nonsense? Don't answer! As a Virginia vet, I don't consider myself a victim. I get all the care I need from my local VA and my expensive private insurance(Anthem HealthKeepers) through my employer. If Willard becomes President, he'll most certainly cut my VA benefits. He really believes in austerity. My support is 110% for the President because he's ended the God forbidden war in Iraq and he's bringing my brothers and sisters home from Afghanistan. That's putting COUNTRY FIRST!!!! Willard should try that for a change rather than investing in Chinese oil companies and hiding his money in foreign tax havens. BTW, George W. Bush will be attending a conference just 1 week prior to the election and his topic will be foreign investments in the Cayman Islands. lol

    September 27, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    truth – I don't think that even Fox foreign owned media makes up as many crazy conspiracies as you do. Where are you getting the crap you post?

    September 27, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. linda

    Republicans voted down the Veterans Job Bill last week 58-40.....it needed 60 votes to pass.....it was a bipartisin bill and it had been revised to add the amendments the Republicans wanted in the bill and it was paid for.....so the GOP says to you Veterans "Thank you for your Service" We love you for your service, they died and many wounded for this country and yet the Republicans are saying "But When You Come Home Your On Your Own" Thanks GOP for supporting our Troops (NOT)........they were putting politics before our Veterans, they didn't want Obama to have the credit for getting this Bill passed so close to the election......but that's going to come back and bite all of you Republicans in the A**......Real Patriotic ......but of course it's not their sons and daughters fighting for our country, it's your's and mine.....

    September 27, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. Hammerer

    How can the vets support Obama when he says the four dead Americans slaughtered while serving their country are but "mere bumps in the road".

    September 27, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. Romney loseing election

    Romney why did you tell your republican friend to pass the veteran job bill.
    Veterans love Obama.
    All republican need to be voted out of the office.

    September 27, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. Critical Thinking

    If he wants to see victims, all he needs to do is look at the 23 million un or underemployeed americans. but you wont find them at his rallies, they are at the Romney rallies. You wont find them at your fundraisers, they are at the Romney fundraisers. You wont find them on the golf course, because they don't have luxury to play. You see Mr. President, to find the victims of your policies, you need to look for them, not ignore them.

    September 27, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. Pete

    @truth hurts,you're more popular than your Mormon moron and you stick your foot in your mouth as much as well..Try being a little more accurate in your facts,much again like Romney the pathelogical Mormon liar,he too believes all he says unfactual or not,but that's his religion what's your excuse!!MSNBC Rachel Maddow asked a Romney advisor if all the ads they put on tv are factual and if not what do they do with them,his answer "all ads are very factual ,if they're not we are told by Gov.Romney to remove".Rachael at that point on her show listed all ads Romney had and if factual and if still running ,if they're not.All ads that are factual, unfactual by Politifact.org or other factcheckers were graded and all ads factual,unfactual are still running ,that's Romney,his advisors hypocracy saying on one hand the president is running a factually damaging campaign but fail to realize they're just as dirty and completely unfactual as well!!They hate when the president shows truths and in return republicans in kind show lies.A democrate once quoted " I'll quit telling truths about Republicans if Republicans quit telling lies about Democrates",remember that TRUTH and Romney as well,the truth will set you free,your truths as you've seen are very costly aren't they!!

    September 27, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. Tracy Green

    Hey truth hurts, please give your mom a message and tell her she should of thought twice about having you! You suck! Obama\Biden 2012. There isn't anything you can do about it! He will be re-elected. Now take that and shove it up your a**!

    September 27, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  20. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    T=You're a lyin'sack "truth". Already been proven wrong...

    September 27, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  21. Bob in Texas

    Mitt Romney was in Virginia courting the veteran vote today as well. I can think of nothing more distasteful, indeed downright offense, than Romney talking to a group of Veterans. You see, when men were fighting and dying in Vietnam, Romney was cheering the war, egging it on. The fact is, he took a "ministerial" draft deferment, a four year educational deferment, and then did the "Eagle Rock" when he drew a high lottery number, all the time leading the cheers for a war in which he would not enlist or even volunteer for the draft. Do we really want a draft dodging chicken-hawk like Mitt Romney as Commander and Chief? Not me. I hope not you either.

    September 27, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...


    He never said that slaughtered Americans were "mere bumps in the road" Stop making things up. You just look foolish.

    September 27, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  23. LEK

    little hammerer said:


    How can the vets support Obama when he says the four dead Americans slaughtered while serving their country are but "mere bumps in the road"

    @Hammerer- Hey little buddy, stop watching fox new and reading the drudge report in order to get your talking points. This is what the President said with regards to bumps:

    "Kroft: Have the events that took place in the Middle East, the recent events in the Middle East given you any pause about your support for the governments that have come to power following the Arab Spring?

    Obama: Well, I'd said even at the time that this is going to be a rocky path. The question presumes that somehow we could have stopped this wave of change. I think it was absolutely the right thing for us to do to align ourselves with democracy, universal rights, a notion that people have to be able to participate in their own governance. But I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because, you know, in a lot of these places, the one organizing principle has been Islam. The one part of society that hasn't been controlled completely by the government. There are strains of extremism, and anti-Americanism, and anti-Western sentiment. And, you know, can be tapped into by demagogues. There will probably be some times where we bump up against some of these countries and have strong disagreements, but I do think that over the long term we are more likely to get a Middle East and North Africa that is more peaceful, more prosperous and more aligned with our interests."

    September 27, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  24. Hammerer

    Lek maybe you should read more than Obama's talking points.

    September 27, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  25. Gurgyl

    O-B-A-M-A12. Period.
    PS: nation is on right track, ex: energy efficiency, healthcare law, fin. Reg, reform, Bin Laden kill, GM save, list goes for two miles long on paper........,,.shhhhhhh...MIT the twit...

    September 27, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
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