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Obama makes case for 'economic patriotism' in battleground Virginia


VIRGINIA BEACH, VA –- Campaigning at virtually the same time and in the same state as Republican opponent Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama said he wants to use his second term to foster “economic patriotism” in the United States.

Speaking at an outdoor concert pavilion, Obama encouraged voters to believe America could prevail over economic challenges, and, by extension, his own ability to do the same. He used a line first unveiled in a new campaign ad this morning to encompass the sentiment.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Virginia Beach, Virginia, President Obama calls for strengthening the middle class by growing the economy, pledging his path "leads to a better place."

"It's time for a new economic patriotism, an economic patriotism rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong and thriving middle class," he said.

“The truth is it’s going to take a few more years to solve the challenges that were building up over decades. But I want everybody to understand our problems can be solved. Our challenges will be met,” Obama said, praising the resilience of America’s workers and touting his second-term priorities like boosting exports.

The president also gave a few nods to this military-heavy town, lamenting election-season platitudes about patriotism, saying, “in a campaign season you always hear a lot about patriotism” before introducing his new slogan.

He was also introduced to the audience of 7,000 by outgoing Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, a Vietnam veteran and Democrat who gave a passionate endorsement of the president’s military advocacy. 

It’s no surprise that both Obama and Romney converged in Virginia on Thursday -- their ad wars here make it one of the hottest states for political commercials, with four cities among the country’s top ten markets. And there are at least two OFA ads on the air here hitting Romney over his “47 percent” remarks.

Obama has been gaining ground in Virginia lately, with a series of statewide polls suggesting the president leads Romney in this battleground state.

And a new Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation poll on Medicare found Virginia voters said they trusted Obama to deal with the program by a 13-point margin over Romney.

Obama sought to take advantage of his lead on that subject during his remarks Thursday.

“I will never, ever turn Medicare into a voucher. Because no American should have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies,” he said Thursday, drawing a huge cheer from the crowd.