July 13th, 2012
09:29 AM ET
11 years ago

Obama to court Virginia voters

(CNN) - President Barack Obama on Friday begins what his re-election campaign calls a "two-day barnstorm" across Virginia, as he attempts to recapture the same swing state he narrowly carried in 2008.

The campaign said the president will focus on the "two fundamentally different visions" being debated in the 2012 presidential race, particularly when it comes to finding solutions for the lagging economy.

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He'll begin with a speech in Virginia Beach, followed by a visit to Hampton and then Roanoke. The president will return to the White House on Friday night before heading back out to Richmond and Chantilly on Saturday.

While Obama has made frequent stops in neighboring Northern Virginia, the two-day tour marks the president's second campaign trip to the Old Dominion since attending one of his first rallies this cycle in Richmond on May 5. Earlier that day, he held his inaugural campaign rally in Ohio.

The president has a slight margin over Republican opponent Mitt Romney in Virginia, according to a recent Quinnipiac University survey. Obama has the backing of 47% of registered voters, compared to Romney at 42%, the survey indicates. The margin falls within the poll's sampling error.

In 2008, Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Virginia since 1964. He defeated Sen. John McCain in the state by six percentage points, 53% to 47%.

Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, last visited the commonwealth around the same time as Obama, appearing at a campaign event in Portsmouth on May 3.

"You're going to hear it all right here in Virginia," Romney told the crowd, while standing alongside Gov. Bob McDonnell. "This may well be the state who decides who the next president is."

Similar to some of the other swing states, Virginia's economy fares better than much of the country, with an unemployment rate at 5.6% compared to the national average at 8.2%.

While Virginia receives a heavy amount of federal spending for military purposes–Norfolk is home to the largest naval base in the world–McDonnell argued Friday morning that Obama did not deserve credit for the state's economic status.

Instead, he pointed to other states with relatively stable business climates, highlighting that many of them have Republican governors.

"If it was something President Obama was doing, you'd see that all over the place. And you don't," McDonnell said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."

Also weighing in on the president's trip to Virginia, House Speaker John Boehner challenged Obama to outline his proposal to reduce military spending while on the campaign trail. In a post on his website, Boehner asks if Obama will "share with Virginia families his plan to replace the looming defense cuts" set to take place in 2013.

"We hope so, because we sure haven't seen it yet and the president has remained more engaged in his campaign than on addressing the needs of families in states like Virginia," Boehner wrote.

The state is also home to a competitive open Senate race this year between two former governors: Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen.

Kaine will appear with Obama Friday, along with current Democratic Sen. Mark Warner at all three stops. A former Democratic National Committee chairman, Kaine has close ties with Obama and appeared at a private fund-raiser for the president in Virginia in late April.

- CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • Virginia
soundoff (10 Responses)

    Welcome back to Hampton Roads Mr. President. Virginia is Obama Country!!!!

    July 13, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  2. mikle

    This president don't have shame the way he run his campaign. He not talk about his lousy record , but talk about Romney Bain. Shame, shame.

    July 13, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. NVa Native

    We in Virginia support our President and understand all the hard work he's done for all Americans.
    Virginia is proudly moving forward and evolving socially and politically, even though there is a small minded minority who want us all to crawl backward with has beens like Allen & Romomey.
    Virginia is where many of United States' first liberals – the Founding Fathers – started the revolution of social and political evolution toward "freedom for all". But even back then there were the elitist conservatives (Tories) who supported and were comfortable with the old ways of “might was right” and all that mattered is profit and wealth, never wanting growth/change or social equality.
    Virginia is where our President will win the election.

    July 13, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. Dave

    I wonder if he will share the following: Obama said he would cut the deficit in half, but he doubled it. He said George Bush was unpatriotic for increasing the debt, and then he adds $5 trillion. Obama said the stimulus would reduce unemployment below 8%, but that has not happened. Obama said he would be transparent, but the health care bill was debated in private. He said he opposed executive privilege but then uses it to cover the fast and furious debacle. He said green energy is the wave of the future, but then Solyndra goes out of business. He said bailouts would save GM, but it still went bankrupt.

    July 13, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. Four and The Door

    The campaign said the president will focus on the "two fundamentally different visions" being debated in the 2012 presidential race, particularly when it comes to finding solutions for the lagging economy.
    Obama's vision ( Tax and Spend ) versus Romney's vision (Manage and Grow). America is ready to move forward and not backward to the expensive economic experiments of 2009 and 2010. The results are in. Tax and Spend doesn't work. Romney 2012 for management and growth. Results everyone can enjoy.

    July 13, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. Remi

    He might try to actually work on his job performance. Obama has been the biggest fraud perpetrated on the American people in decades. Under achievement has marked the Imperial Presidency.

    July 13, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. Independent Voter

    I like McDonnell, but I will not vote for Romney...because Romney has too many hidden things that Americans mistrust him...Plus, he is doesn't have his own idea how to be the President...He will not deserve my vote this November..

    July 13, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  8. tv22

    Go lie somewhere else Mr. President. Someone will buy it I'm sure.

    July 13, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. Ancient Texan

    Since his narrow 2008 win in Virginia, the state has chosen a Republican Governor and legislature. It's going to be a state to watch.

    July 13, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  10. Michael B.

    How will he court them? Lies and the same Chicago-style politics he uses now. Hope they see right through him.

    July 13, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |