Obama takes on national security in Virginia campaign swing
Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 10:58 pm
By JENNIFER LOVEN
Associated Press Writer
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Democrat Barack Obama is bouncing from one patch of Republican turf to another this week.
Virginia is his stomping grounds today, as he continues his assault on Republican John McCain’s economic proposals while also introducing national security differences into the final-stretch mix.
The endorsement over the weekend of Obama by longtime Republican Colin Powell, the former secretary of state under President Bush, gives the Democrat an opening to go on the offensive on foreign affairs. The topic is generally considered his weakest against McCain, but Powell’s backing undercut McCain’s perceived dominance.
So, while in the Virginia capital today, Obama and running mate Joe Biden planned to meet with a group of national security advisers to the campaign. Obama planned to talk publicly after the discussion about his approach to world affairs, and how it differs from McCain’s.
That doesn’t mean the economy won’t remain front and center with less than two weeks to go before Election Day.
Obama’s other events in Virginia, rallies in Richmond and Leesburg, were to focus heavily on the financial crisis that has morphed into broad and intense anxieties throughout the country. The economy is also likely to be a key theme at a rally Thursday in Indiana, yet another state that voted GOP in 2004.
Obama arrived in Virginia on Tuesday night after spending two full days campaigning in another GOP state, Florida.
There, he criticized McCain for offering little more than “willful ignorance, wishful thinking, outdated ideology” to an economy in crisis.
With the chairman of the Federal Reserve and even Bush now indicating support for more economic stimulus spending by Washington, momentum is building for Congress to pass a second package after the election, an idea Obama has encouraged. But McCain has remained cool, saying only that he wants to keep his options open.
At boisterous Miami rally with his wife, Michelle, Obama seized on that, as well as a report that a top McCain economic adviser said the Arizona senator prefers to first evaluate the impact $700 billion financial rescue plan passed earlier this month.
“I’ve got news for Sen. McCain: Hardworking families who’ve been hard hit by this economic crisis — folks who can’t pay their mortgages or their medical bills or send their kids to college — they can’t afford to wait and see. They can’t afford to go to the back of the line behind CEOs and Wall Street banks,” Obama told a crowd of more than 30,000 that filled a waterside park.
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