Obama rallies supporters in rainy battleground Virginia

GLEN ALLEN, Virginia Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:49am EDT

1 of 8. U.S. President Barack Obama speaks in the rain during a campaign rally in Glen Allen, Virginia, July 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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GLEN ALLEN, Virginia (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, soaked to the skin as he rallied supporters during a downpour in the election battleground state of Virginia on Saturday, kept up his attack on Republican Mitt Romney as the rhetoric hardened on both sides.

Standing before about 900 people at the Walkerton Tavern & Garden who stood cheering and chanting despite the drenching rain, Obama attacked Romney's record as head of a private equity firm and contrasted his middle class childhood with Romney's wealth.

"I don't want a pioneer in outsourcing. I want some insourcing. I want to bring companies back," Obama told the crowd in this town near Richmond, his soaked blue shirt sticking to his arms and rain dripping from his face, as supporters chanted "Four more years."

With polls showing a close race for the November 6 election, Obama has constantly painted Romney as a multi-millionaire private equity specialist who is out of touch with ordinary voters.

The president continued that on Saturday, reminiscing about humble vacations as a child when his family would travel on a Greyhound Bus and a highlight was being able to swim in the motel swimming pool or using the motel's vending machines.

The Obama campaign also released two new ads on Saturday, one of which played clips of Romney demanding the president apologize followed by clips of the Republican candidate attacking Obama. "Mitt Romney. He sure asks for a lot of apologies. When he's not busy launching attacks," the ad said.

In the other ad, the main sound is of Romney singing "America the Beautiful." Meanwhile, the ad scrolls through lush images of Bermuda and the Cayman Isles to draw attention to the Republican's offshore bank accounts while referencing the outsourcing of U.S. jobs.

The Romney campaign slammed Obama for the ads.

"Every day, President Obama hits a new low," said Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul. "It is sad and shameful that President Obama would mock America The Beautiful. But sadly it's not surprising for the man who launched his presidency with an apology tour."

APOLOGIZE

Tensions between the campaigns have escalated sharply over Romney's tenure at Bain Capital, which the Democratic president has used to put his opponent on the defensive and switch the conversation from Obama's stewardship of the weak economy.

Romney on Friday demanded that Obama apologize for his campaign's attacks about his business record and questions over whether the Republican was still leading Bain when the private equity firm outsourced U.S. jobs abroad.

Obama has said since Romney touts his business background as one of the main reasons he should be elected president, then Romney should answer questions about when he left Bain Capital.

Obama also suggested that Romney was a deep pocketed candidate who was mainly attacking him on the economy but had not offered suggestions on how to fix it.

"Over the next four months the other side is going to spend more money than we've ever seen in our lifetime on a bunch of negative ads," Obama said, brushing rain off his face. "What these ads are going to do is just say the economy isn't where it needs to be and it's Obama's fault. That's their message."

"That's a plan for maybe winning the election but it's not a plan for creating jobs or helping the middle class. It's not a plan for rebuilding our economy."

Winding down his speech, Obama joked about the bad weather as the rain picked up. "I'm wrapping up. Everyone is wet anyway so it doesn't matter," he said to laughter. "Those hairdos are gone."

Obama had another campaign event in northern Virginia on Saturday as he wrapped up a two day swing through the state before heading to Ohio on Monday. Both states are vital to his re-election hopes in November and recent polls show him ahead in each.

Romney, who has said his business background will help him turn around the U.S. economy and create more jobs, got caught flatfooted this week in beating down Democrats' accusations that he was involved in firing workers and outsourcing U.S. jobs to foreign countries while at Bain.

Romney has said he left the firm in 1999, when he was tapped to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics. But the Boston Globe reported on Thursday that public records indicate he was still registered as a top official at Bain for three more years.

Timing matters because Romney has said since he left Bain in 1999 he was not responsible for bankruptcies and layoffs at Bain-owned businesses after that time. Obama's re-election campaign has used those bankruptcies and layoffs to question the Republican's track record.

(Additional reporting by Deborah Charles; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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Comments (19)
flashrooster wrote:
Romney needs to show us his tax returns. All Presidential candidates do it, and it’s for a reason. It helps us to know who we are considering voting for. Even Romney’s own father thought that Presidential candidates need to show their tax returns, and that showing one year’s return is “meaningless”. Romney is always bragging about his success in the business world. Well, here’s an opportunity for him to give us a complete picture of that success, rather than just taking his word for it. After all, he is a politician and he does have a history of deceiving people.

If Romney refuses to release his tax returns, it means there’s something there that he doesn’t want the American people to see. Not to release his tax returns on some convenient principle wouldn’t make any sense. Romney took a pass when everyone else was going to Vietnam and now he wants to take a pass when all other Presidential candidates release their tax returns to the public. John Kerry released his tax returns for 10 years. George Romney, Mitt’s father, released 12 years of tax returns. Romney is so used to special privileges that he thinks he can invoke privilege whenever it suits him. What’s good for everyone else must apply equally to spoiled Mitt Romney.

Jul 14, 2012 12:58am EDT  --  Report as abuse
nirmasuma wrote:
Mitt’s claim to Presidency is his past experience as a CEO.
As a CEO his experience is limited to managing companies. But
the office of the President is concerned with political
management at national level. Romney could not even win a
Senate seat and was also defeated in the last GOP primary.
President Obama had won the Senate seat and then also the
Presidency and is the first African American to do so. He
has a long list of achievements in spite of the obstructionist
policies of Romney’s party in the face of a recession. It is
time Mitt changed the subject.

Jul 15, 2012 2:06am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Chazz wrote:
Reading the “inspired” commentary made by our “President,” our governmental “leaders,” and citizenry it’s clear just how much of a cesspool the US has become.

….and it’s only going to get worse – how wonderful.

America is no longer “beautiful”

Jul 15, 2012 3:17am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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