Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (BOB BROWN/AP)

The comment, made last weekend during Obama’s two-day tour of the state, was “an insult to all Virginians and all Americans — including active duty military personnel, veterans and people who actually live with mental illness,” Michael J. Fitzpatrick, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and Mira Signer, executive director of the group’s Virginia affiliate, said in a joint statement issued Monday. “It is an outrageous, ignorant and prejudiced statement.”

Fitzpatrick and Signer, who noted that their groups are nonpartisan and do not endorse candidates, called on Bolling to apologize.

“Because the Lt. Governor is state chairman of the Romney presidential campaign, we also call on Governor Romney to disavow the statement and speak out forcefully against the stigma that traditionally surrounds mental illness,” their statement said.

Ibbie Hedrick, a spokeswoman for Bolling, said the lieutenant governor was merely speaking colorfully to make a point.

“The Lieutenant Governor’s comment was not intended to offend anyone,” Hedrick said. “He was obviously using hyperbole to illustrate the old saying that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, and he is amazed that anyone would think that President Obama is doing a good job and deserves a second term. Obama’s deficit spending and attempts to raise taxes won’t create jobs. That has been proven by the fact that unemployment has been over 8% for 41 months and there is almost no economic growth in our nation. To re-elect him is to try the same failed policies again and expect a different result, and that would be a disaster for our country.”

Bolling made the comment to the Daily Press of Hampton Roads Saturday, at a “prebuttal” event before Obama’s appearance in Glen Allen. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani had used similar language the day before, while attending at the opening of Romney’s Henrico County campaign office with Bolling. Giuliani said that Virginians would have to be “nuts” to vote for Obama

“When he executes what he wants to do with this military, which is to devastate it, the state that will suffer the most is the state of Virginia,” Giuliani said. “You would be nuts to vote for him. It would be like somebody going to Pittsburgh in 1960 and saying, ‘I’m going to destroy the steel industry.’ It’s like somebody coming to New York and saying, ‘I’m going to destroy the financial industry.’ Well, of course, he did do that. And they’re stupid enough to vote for him anyway. But this is Virginia, not New York.”