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Medal of Honor recipient Leo K. Thorsness (center) and others listen to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speak at American Legion Post 176 in Springfield.
Evan Vucci/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Date published: 9/28/2012
VIRGINIA BEACH--President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaigned in each other's shadow for a third straight day Thursday, hunting for votes already beginning to be cast and arguing over defense cuts and job creation.
Obama pledged to create many more jobs and "make the middle-class secure again."
Romney, focusing on threats beyond American shores, accused the commander in chief of backing dangerous cuts in defense spending.
"The idea of cutting our military is unthinkable and devastating. And when I become president we will not," declared the Republican challenger, struggling to reverse a slide in opinion polls.
Romney and Obama campaigned a few hundred miles apart in Virginia, 40 days before their long race ends. They'll be in much closer quarters next Wednesday in Denver--for the first of three presidential debates on the campaign calendar and perhaps the challenger's best remaining chance to change the trajectory of the campaign.
In a race where the economy is the dominant issue, there was a fresh sign of national weakness as the Commerce Department lowered its earlier estimate of tepid growth last spring. Romney and his allies seized on the news as evidence that Obama's policies aren't working.
There was good news for the president in the form of a survey by The Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation suggesting he has gained ground among older voters after a month-long ad war over Republican plans for Medicare.
Early voting has already begun in Virginia as well as South Dakota, Idaho and Vermont. It began during the day in Wyoming as well as in Iowa, like Virginia one of the most highly contested states. Voters had formed a line a half block long in Des Moines before the elections office opened at 8 a.m.
Campaigning in Virginia Beach, Obama said, "It's time for a new economic patriotism, an economic patriotism rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong and thriving middle class." It was a line straight from the two-minute television commercial his campaign released overnight.