Obama Holds Slim Advantage In Swing State Virginia
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Yesterday, Ohio; today, Virginia. Both presidential candidates addressed that state's important veterans community. Republican challenger Mitt Romney visited a relatively blue part of the state today in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. Meanwhile, President Obama campaigned in the more conservative south and now enjoys a narrow lead in Virginia polls. We have two reports - one from NPR's Ari Shapiro with Governor Romney, and first, Mara Liasson, traveling with the Obama campaign.
MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: President Obama arrived in Virginia Beach today on a brilliant blue sky day. He had a big adoring crowd and a little bit of wind at his back. The Gallup tracking poll shows his job approval rating at 50 percent or higher. That's an important benchmark for an incumbent because vote share for sitting presidents tend to equal their job approval number.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: How's it going, Virginia Beach?
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)
LIASSON: Mr. Obama hammered away at his basic argument that his opponent is out of touch and will take the country backward. As he has done for days, the president kept going back to the well of Romney's videotaped remarks that 47 percent of the country sees themselves as victims entitled to a handout.
OBAMA: I know I travel around a lot in Virginia and across this country. I don't meet a lot of victims. I see hardworking Virginians. I see students trying to work their way through college. I see single moms, like my mom, putting in overtime to raise their kids right. I see senior citizens who have been saving for retirement your entire lives.
LIASSON: Today, Mr. Obama tailored his attack on Romney's 47 percent gaffe to his audience: a military-reliant community full of veterans and service families.
OBAMA: I see a whole bunch of veterans who are - served this country with bravery and distinction. And I see soldiers who defend our freedom every single day. And I see those military families who are wondering whether their loved ones are going to come back home, safe and sound. That's who I see.
LIASSON: Sitting in the audience was Tony Nucias. Retired, Nucias voted for John McCain four years ago, but he says he won't vote for the Republican this year.
TONY NUCIAS: It appears to be that it's a political machine that spouts the same message we heard eight years ago, and it's not appealing to me anymore.
LIASSON: His wife Janet also plans to vote for President Obama.
JANET: I think he's in touch, first of all. He's just more in touch with common people. We're beginning to feel like peasants, and Romney certainly looks at us like we are.
LIASSON: Mr. Obama won Virginia in 2008, and the state is central to most of the Obama campaign strategies to reach 270 electoral votes. He campaigned here last Friday, and he'll be back plenty of times before Election Day. Mara Liasson, NPR News, with the Obama campaign in Virginia. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.