The Washington Post

Obama says Loudoun County is key to 2012 chances

As Loudoun County goes, so goes the 2012 election?

That’s how President Obama sees it.

Capping two days of campaigning through key battleground states with a rally at Loudoun County High School in Leesburg, Obama fired up a crowd of hundreds by telling them that their home was the key to his chances.

“We won Loudoun last time; if we win Loudoun this time, we’ll win Virginia,” Obama said, speaking to supporters from a stage set just in front of the brick school building with the large white Greek columns. “And if we win Virginia, we’ll win the election.”

The president won 54 percent of the vote in Loudoun in 2008, en route to winning Virginia. But the county is not a given for the Democrat, considering its voters gave Robert McDonnell, a Republican, 61 percent in his victorious 2009 campaign for governor.

Obama stopped by the high school on the way back to Washington from Orlando, where he flew midday to speak at a local college. At both sites, the president contrasted his vision for the middle class with the policies of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

As he did Wednesday during two stops in Ohio, Obama hit Romney over his economic plan, which includes a tax cut for wealthier Americans.

“They’ve tried to sell us this trickle-down tax-cut fairy dust before,” Obama said. “And every single time it doesn’t work. It’s not a plan to create jobs or to lower the deficit or to move this economy forward.”

Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams struck back, saying that during the Obama administration, the middle class has “experienced higher unemployment, lower incomes, and greater uncertainty about the future.”

Upon arriving in Loudoun, Obama was greeted by a couple groups of demonstrators, who held Romney placards and signs such as one that read: “Sorry Obama, this is Romney country.”

Inside the school grounds, however, Obama was greeted enthusiastically.

With the new monthly jobs report due Friday, the president said: “Look, nobody is satisfied with our pace of growth. Nobody is satisfied. Even with all the jobs we’re created, we’ve got to create more. But if you look at our history, if you look at the facts, every time we’ve grown, it hasn’t been by the top down. It’s been from the middle out. It’s been from the bottom up. When middle-class families are doing well, lo and behold, everybody does well.”

David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.

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