Yesterday, Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa Govenor Tom Vilsack (D), and former rep Tom Perriello (D-Va), began their tour of rural Virginia.
The mission? To sell President Obama to Virginia voters.
A tough sell four years ago in 2008, when the Democrat swing in Martinsville and Montgomery county ended 40 years of Republican-only voting across Virginia. The question on everyone’s mind is, can Obama achieve a similar or better result now in 2012?
Thoughts undoubtedly not far from Vilsack’s mind when spoke at Virginia Tech on Tuesday. Telling attendees,
“We’ve had three of the best years in the history of the country in terms of agricultural exports, we obviously want to continue that. We’ve seen record farm income, we want to continue that. We’ve seen unemployment go down in rural areas at a very fast rate, we want to continue that.”
Asked by a journalist whether he thought President Obama could reconnect with people in Southwest Virginia, Vilsack replied,
“I think again it has to do with the fact that this president can talk about an unemployment rate that’s going in the right direction in rural areas including in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
The tour will include Martinsville, Rustburg, Lovingston, Chatham and Raphine – ending on Saturday a meet in Blacksburg with local Obama supporters and former Virginia first lady Anne Holton – wife of former governor Tim Kaine (D), who is running for U.S senate against George Allen) – for the opening of the campaign’s 17th office.
One of those not impressed with President Obama’s rural record is Curt Cashour, Virginia’s communications director for Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“In the last three and a half years, President Obama has held a lot of fundraisers, and he’s visited with a lot of celebrities, but he’s lost touch with what Virginia’s families are going through” Cashour said.
“From the job-killing regulations President Obama has hit Virginia’s coal producers and job creators with, to the huge spike in energy costs that has occurred on his watch, it’s clear that Virginians are suffering under President Obama’s failed liberal policies.”
Secretary Vilsack will be hoping Cashour’s words do not reflect a prevailing mood in Virginia. It’s well known that Vilsack believes Romney does not have a coherent plan for America’s rural constituency or its needs. Voters will decide who they trust in November.
Until then, the wooing continues.