WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama Friday returned to Virginia, which is among a few key states that could determine the fate of his bid for re-election in November, and the White House chances for his presumed Republican rival, Mitt Romney.
Obama won Virginia in 2008 when the state went into the Democratic Party column for the first time in decades, giving him a 53 percent to 46 percent margin over his then-Republican rival, Arizona Senator John McCain.
By an unofficial count, Obama has visited Virginia 46 times since taking office, 15 times since he formally filed for re-election. Likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is also focused on winning in Virginia.
Obama's stops Friday were in Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Hampton, areas where many military families live and where the president enjoys significant support from African-American voters.
The president hit all his major themes, saying his administration created more than 4 million jobs, and is working tirelessly for the middle class, although more work remains to repair the economy.
Obama refuted Romney assertions that current policies are "destroying jobs" and said Romney and Republicans would bring a return to "top-down" economic policies that do not work.
"We tried it for most of the last decade," the president said. "And what were the results? We ended up turning record surpluses into record deficits. Wages, incomes stagnated. Job growth sluggish. And it culminated in the worst financial crisis that we have seen since the 1930's. Now, if you try something and it doesn't work, why would you try it again? Why would we want to go back to that?"
Obama referred to negative political advertising in the U.S. presidential campaign he said is causing negativity and cynicism among Americans who sense a disconnect between politics and challenges they face.
He did not mention his own advertising, which includes this video which focused on the controversy over Romney's role in the Bain venture capital firm, a company he founded in 1984. The controversy surrounds documents that raise questions about past statements Romney made about when he gave up control of Bain.
In an interview with CBS, Obama called the focus on Romney's business record "entirely appropriate" because the likely Republican nominee has used his background as his "main calling card" in running for president.
The Romney campaign has accused Obama of being dishonest, particularly on the issue of whether Romney was responsible for "outsourcing" jobs to other countries.
Obama on Friday also criticized the Republican-controlled House of Representatives for voting for the 33rd time to repeal or weaken his health care reform law. He criticized Republican opposition to his proposal to extend Bush-era tax cuts for families earning up to $250,000.
On the president's schedule for next week are four days of intense campaigning, including a return visit to Ohio, another critically important election state, and stops in Texas and Florida.