President Barack Obama rallied a raucous crowd in Norfolk Tuesday, hoping to fire up a sluggish Democratic base to unite around gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds.
“It’s always tough in Virginia,” Mr. Obama said. “We knew this was going to be tough.”
The president said solving the Commonwealth’s problems “will require more than lip service and political ads” — a swipe at Republican nominee Bob McDonnell.
“Are you looking for slick, or are you looking for someone who’s going to be fighting for you?” Mr. Obama asked the cheering crowd.
It was the second visit the president has made to Virginia on Deeds’ behalf. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters aboard Air Force One that he didn’t anticipate a third trip.
Last week, The Washington Post anonymously quoted senior administration officials who griped that Deeds was not a very good candidate.
Gibbs said the White House was “very comfortable” with the level of support it and the Democratic National Committee gave to Deeds.
Deeds’ comments are posted after the jump.
REMARKS OF CREIGH DEEDS AT A RALLY WITH PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
~ As Prepared for Delivery ~
Old Dominion University
October 27, 2009
Good evening and thank you for joining me today.
This election is about Virginia’s future: how we deal with economic challenges we face, how we make our public schools the best and most innovative we possibly can. It’s about how we finally fix the partisan log jam and pass a transportation plan, and how we control government spending through commonsense, bipartisan management that makes government work.
Simply put, as I said on the day I became a candidate and the night I won the Democratic primary, this election is about bringing prosperity, economic opportunity and hope to every corner of the Commonwealth.
It’s not a campaign slogan. This has been my life’s work. This commitment to economic opportunity and education is why I became involved in public service. It’s who I am.
Like a lot of Virginians, I’ve been counted out my whole life, but that’s only ever inspired me to work harder and prove those naysayers wrong. In 2005, a reporter called me a “nobody from nowhere.” There is no such thing. We all count and we need a Governor who works for all of us.
Next Tuesday, it’s time for all of us to stand up, like we did just shy of a year ago, and make it known what we want our future to be. Yes, we did then, and yes we can this November 3rd!
I am proud of my eighteen-year legislative record of fighting for economic opportunity and protecting our shared priorities. What has informed my agenda as a legislator is the life I have led.
I understand the pressures faced by Virginia families. My wife works full time. We have four children, two of whom have gone through college, one that’s still there, and our youngest who’s working hard to go soon. I understand the serious challenges faced by working families because I’m part of one.
I am a product of Virginia’s public schools. With two grandmothers who taught here, I grew up understanding how important it was to get a diploma. I learned at a young age that I had to make most of every opportunity that came my way to do something special with my life.
I grew up on a farm and my family didn’t have much. I knew poor, but I was fortunate enough not to know hunger. That changed one summer when I was a teenager, working at a camp for disadvantaged kids.
At lunch, this little nine-year-old boy looked up at me and asked, “You mean we eat more than once a day here?”
That opened my eyes—and my heart. I realized in that moment that the world wasn’t perfect, that right here in Virginia there were people who were hurting and kids who went to bed hungry.
And it made me realize I could make a difference.
My mom got me started. She made sure I had the opportunity to attend college—and that was a great gift. She sent me off to college with just four $20 bills in my pocket. I worked hard, studied hard, and now I’m running for Governor.
I know that I’m standing here today because of good public schools and a college education.
My story—and, I imagine, many of your own stories—are built on quality education, a strong, supportive family and community, and a Commonwealth that offers anyone who works for it the chance to succeed.
It’s your family and the people in your communities who have the biggest impact on you—but it’s the people we elect who have the biggest impact on your educational and economic opportunities. Every person deserves the opportunities that I have been fortunate enough to have.
That’s the reason I got into public service. That’s why I’m standing up here, running in this election. And that’s the future I will work to ensure for Virginia as your next Governor.
Bringing opportunity to people all over the Commonwealth has motivated me throughout my career, and will continue to be my mission from the Governor’s office. I’ve worked hard and am proud of my initiatives like Megan’s Law and Amber Alert. We’ve cleaned up toxic waste dumps and worked to improve the Chesapeake Bay. We’ve reduced class sizes and improved student and school performance with standards and accountability. And I wrote the legislation creating the modern day Governor’s Opportunity Fund–a powerful tool that has brought more than 80,000 jobs to the Commonwealth.
Today, Virginia faces challenges. The way we face this new crisis and the choices we make will affect how we will live and work for the next decade or more.
Here is my vision.
I want a Virginia that is the nation’s leader in economic opportunity. Where someone in any corner of the Commonwealth can turn their ideas into economic engines that could change the world. Virginia can become the national leader in clean energy, medical research and cutting edge technology.
I want a Virginia where every child grows up healthy and young people receive the best possible education at a public school, and where Virginia students at Virginia colleges and universities produce groundbreaking discoveries.
And I want a Virginia where progress, respect and equality prevail, not one separated by politicians with narrow social agendas. We cannot move forward if we have leaders who only look back. I have worked hard to keep Virginia on the track of progress throughout my career, and I know there is more we can do in the next four years to keep that going.
That’s my vision.
This is my plan.
We need to jump-start our economy and create jobs. My plan provides a tax cut for any business that creates a job in the Commonwealth. Create a job, get a tax credit. It’s that simple. We’ll also help unemployed workers purchase health insurance, and boost investments in job training, tourism, and women- and minority-owned small businesses.
We must be committed to building the smartest workforce in the world if we are to attract the smartest jobs in the world to Virginia.
Because my college education was so instrumental in my life, my education plan includes the creation of 70,000 additional degrees at our colleges and universities in the next 10 years.
Too many talented young people are getting turned away at the door because of cost, and that is unacceptable to me.
I have a plan called the “Virginia Forward” Scholarship program. This program will guarantee that any high school student who maintains a “B” average can attend a public Virginia college or university with a 50% scholarship in exchange for committing to at least two years of public service in Virginia after graduation, like becoming a firefighter, a teacher, or a nurse, or working a high-need area. That’s a win-win for everyone—we give more of our students a world-class education and Virginia Forward scholars help us build the smartest workforce in the nation right here in Virginia.
There is probably no quicker way to unlock the potential for economic growth in Virginia than to break the legislative logjam and pass a plan to fund transportation. My plan is honest and straightforward. And until we sit down and do the hard work of finding the right combination of proposals that can produce enough votes to pass a plan, we will continue to sit in gridlock as our transportation infrastructure crumbles around us.
This is my record and what I believe this election is about—bringing economic opportunity to every corner of the Commonwealth, a bipartisan approach to cutting spending and managing government, and a deep personal commitment to education. This has been my priority for 18 years. This is who I am, and this is what I will do as your Governor.
When I was young, my great Uncle Frank ran a summer camp, and he’d tell his campers every year, “Now boys, you are going to get out of this camp exactly what you put into it.” It took me awhile to understand the real life lesson he was giving us—you’re either all in, or you’re not in it at all.
That’s the kind of Governor I’ll be—all in, every day, working for you and with you to create economic opportunity for everyone.
I will move Virginia forward. People have said in my campaigns that I am always underestimated, but never outworked. As your next Governor, I will hit the ground running, nose to the grindstone, from Day 1, to exceed expectations and give Virginia the leadership it deserves.
That’s who I am. It’s what I know. It’s how I operate. My record and my priorities have always reflected it.
And that is what this campaign, what voting on November 3rd, next Tuesday, is about: keeping Virginia moving forward!
So now I want all of us to welcome a leader that Virginia put into the winner’s column just one year ago. Fellow Virginians, it’s with pride and honor that I present to you … The President of the United States, BARACK OBAMA!