Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has wrapped up a campaign event in Portsmouth, where he received the endorsement of a formal rival and attacked President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, the federal budget and foreign relations.
It was the second Virginia campaign stop in as many days for Romney as both parties ramp up their efforts to win over voters in the coveted swing state. Obama will speak at an Arlington high school Friday before holding a big campaign rally in Richmond on Saturday afternoon.
Romney said today that Virginia could be the state that decides the November election.At Crofton Industries in Portsmouth today, Romney was introduced by Gov. Bob McDonnell, who could be on Romney’s short list of vice presidential contenders. And he was endorsed by Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a tea party favorites who dropped out of the presidential race after the January Iowa caucuses.
Romney today ripped Obama for the escalating national debt the sluggish pace of the economic recovery and criticized the administration for dragging its feet on approving new oil drilling permits. He drew cheers when he promised to repeal Obama’s health care overhaul and to increase the size of the military.
“You’ve seen the results of the last 3-1/2 years and you don’t want to see more of that,” Romney said in remarks that were streamed live on the Internet. “This is a time for people in the military and people who care about American strength to stand up and vote for a change in Washington that removes this president and puts someone in who will keep America strong, and I will.”
Romney also slammed Obama for attacking state “right to work” laws – such as Virginia’s — that prohibit compulsory union membership.
Romney predicted that Obama will seek to blame others for the administration’s shortcoming when he comes to Virginia. State and national Republicans began pushing that theme this morning when they announced plans to use the slogan “Hype and Blame” to mock Obama’s 2008 “Hope and Change” mantra.
Obama’s campaign also is on the offensive today with a new online gadget that contrasts the president’s policies with Romney’s positions on women’s issues. Obama’s team pointedly tried to draw McDonnell into the fray, weeks after McDonnell signed controversial legislation mandating women to submit to an ultrasound procedure before having an abortion.
In a memo sent to reporters, Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter wrote: “Romney and McDonnell share an extreme agenda on women’s health and economic security.”
“Gov. McDonnell has resorted to running television ads to try and improve his reputation among Virginia women after pushing through a law that mandates women undergo ultrasounds that doctors say serve no medical purpose,” Cutter wrote.
The memo accompanied the unveiling of an online tool called “The Life of Julia” that is designed to illustrate how Obama health, education and economic polices benefit women at different stages of life and how Romney’s positions would differ.
– Michael Sluss