After returning to Washington Friday night, Obama flew to Richmond Saturday morning. The Democratic incumbent, who is expected to face Republican Mitt Romney in the November general election, visited a produce market in Mechanicsville on his way to a campaign event in Glen Allen.
Speaking to an audience of about 900 people at the Walkerton Tavern & Gardens, Obama emphasized economic fairness and creating conditions that allow the middle class to grow and prosper.
"All we ask for as Americans is that hard work pays off," he said. "All we ask is our hard work is rewarded. ... That's what made us the greatest nation on Earth. That's what made us an economic superpower."
Later, during a stop at Centreville High School in Clifton, Va., before returning to the White House, the president reiterated his stump speech that what's wrong with the Republicans' approach to repairing the economy is that it's a top-down strategy that focuses on tax breaks for the wealthy and loosening regulations on the energy industry. That approach, he said, was tried for the better part of a decade under his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, and it resulted in deep recession.
"And so our mission now is the same mission that we had in 2008," he said. "Yes, it's to get people back to work right away and to solve some of these housing problems right away, but it's also, how do we build an economy that lasts and works for everybody? How do we build an economy where hard work pays off -- whether you're starting a business or punching a clock, you know that if you put in the effort, you'll get ahead?
"That's what this campaign is about. That's what my presidency has been about.
"Let's rebuild our infrastructure. Let's rebuild our roads and our bridges ... . Let's build broadband lines and high speed rail. Let's expand our ports and improve our airports. That's what's going to keep us at the cutting-edge of a 21st century economy. And we've got tens of thousands of construction workers ready to be put back to work. Why wouldn't we do some nation-building here at home? Now, this is a disagreement I've got with the guy who's leading the other party. That's the choice that we've got to make."
Obama carried Virginia in 2008, the first Democrat to do so since President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. He spent Friday in the state with campaign stops in Virginia Beach, Hampton and Roanoke.