“We really appreciate you coming here,” Jindal said.
“I appreciate the chance to be here,” Romney replied. “I have a lot of questions for you.” The two discussed evacuation procedures and the contributions of the Red Cross, Salvation Army and other organizations. “Did the water come from the sky, or the rivers, or the ocean?” Romney asked. Jindal’s response was not audible to reporters.
The president visited El Paso on Friday to speak to troops and veterans about a new initiative to expand mental health services for returning troops. .
“Coming home can be its own struggle, especially for wounded warriors, so we’ve poured tremendous resources into this effort,” Obama said, the soldiers listening to him shouting “Hooah” after almost every line. “Part of ending these wars responsibly is caring for those who fought in them.”
Before leaving for the Gulf Coast, Romney had urged Americans to “hold us accountable” for campaign promises as he rallied hundreds of supporters on an airport tarmac in Lakeland, Fla. The Romney-Ryan ticket is looking to capitalize on momentum from the convention by stumping through key battleground states.
A day after he claimed the nomination with a convention speech in which he pledged to fix the nation’s economy, Romney said in Lakeland that he felt “embarrassed” by Thursday night’s program at the GOP convention, which included moving personal testimonials as well as his own acceptance speech, which was at times emotional. “Some people were overly generous, but I appreciated it,’’ he said.
The campaign resumed as chatter continued about actor-director Clint Eastwood’s unusual speech to the convention. At times rambling, Eastwood spent the bulk of his 10 minutes in prime time addressing Obama in the form of an empty chair. Democrats mocked his performance as thousands of people weighed in on social media, though Republicans defended the Hollywood icon.
With many wondering whether Eastwood’s speech had been screened or approved by the Romney campaign, officials said Friday that it was impromptu and that Eastwood did not rehearse with convention producers.
In Texas, Obama talked privately with a group of soldiers at Fort Bliss, home of the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery School, and delivered a public speech on the post before returning to Washington later Friday.
Obama has made a number of appearances this year on military installations, and his campaign has targeted service personnel, veterans and their families by emphasizing his popular policies of drawing down troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as his stewardship of the mission to kill al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden.
Markon reported from Washington, and Gardner reported from Fort Bliss. William Branigin in Washington contributed to this report.