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President Obama Campaigns at Centreville High

Thousands pack into Centreville High School for a campaign appearance by President Obama.

"Hello Wildcats!"

On Saturday afternoon, President Barack Obama ended two days of campaigning across Virginia at , where he spoke about the need to renew the American middle class and the economy.

Central to his theme was his call to Congress to . Republicans want to see that cut applied to all, including families making more than $250,000. Obama has said previously that he would veto anything that includes tax cuts for all.

"What I’ve said is, look, middle-class families, folks who are making $250,000 or less, 98 percent of Americans, you shouldn’t see your taxes go up one dime," Obama said in a 37-minute speech that began at 4:14 p.m. "You don't need to. Your income taxes should stay constant. And I’ve said to Congress let’s go ahead and get that done now. Let’s give 98 percent of folks certainty right now."

'Your Kids Are Turning Out Outstanding'

While the president's message was primarily one for a national audience, there were still some local touches. Centreville's Rev. Jerry Foltz, the founding pastor of , led the opening prayer. Rep. Gerry Connolly, who represents the nearby 11th district, gave a speech before the event. Also present was Sen. Dave Marsden (D-37th district), and Kristin Cabral, who is vying to replace longtime incumbent Rep. Frank Wolf in the newly redrawn 10th district, which Centreville High is within. 

The president also gave a shout-out to the students at the school and newly-installed Centreville High School principal Martin Grimm. 

"I just talked to Martin and I asked him, how long you been principal? He said, 'five days,'" Obama said, to laughter from the audience. "So I said, good luck. I'm sure he is going to do a great job.

And I had a chance to meet some of the student body council here at Centreville, and they could not be more impressive. So, parents, you should know your kids are turning out outstanding. We are proud of them." 

Battleground Virginia

The area is important for Obama to win. Formerly considered a heavily red state, Virginia chose Obama in the last election. It was the first time a Democratic presidential candidate had won the state in 44 years, according to NPR’s “It’s All Politics” blog. Obama won Fairfax County in 2008, taking 60.11 percent of the vote or 310,359 votes to Sen. John McCain's 38.93 percent or 200,994 votes according to the Virginia Board of Elections.

Political observers now view it as a swing state, and both candidates are now vying hard for votes. In May, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stopped at Exhibit Edge in Chantilly to talk about the economy and small business. The president arrived at CVHS on the second of two solid days of campaigning in Virginia.

Winning votes in Northern Virginia will be crucial. Romney has focused heavily during the campaign on the mediocre national economy. The relatively strong state of the local economy and the number of more liberal-leaning constituents in the area make it a harder sell in Northern Virginia.

Republican Counterattack 

The president's opponents were also active on Saturday. Volunteers with the Fairfax County Republican Committee spent the day knocking on doors, asking people to vote for Romney. A campaign bus for Romney was also parked near the school. 

Before the event, Del. Tim Hugo (R-40th district), Del. Barbara Comstock (R-34th district) and Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) joined hundreds of protestors across the road. Many carried signs about the health care law and economy, such as "Hope Isn't Hiring."

"This is ground zero for Barack Obama's tax increase," said Comstock. 

The area surrounding , is home to ZIP code 20124, where about one in five taxpayers file returns of adjusted gross incomes of more than $200,000. Of 7,046 tax returns filed in 2008, 1,435 were filed with adjusted gross incomes of more than $200,000, according to the latest records available from the IRS.

Judy Rosso, 49, of the Alexandria area, was among the people carrying signs. She said she heard about the rally through the Tea Party and decided to come because she is concerned about the government getting involved in healthcare.

"Does he really want the IRS monitoring not only our lives but our health?" Rosso said. 

'That Basic Bargain'

But inside the school gymnasium—where fire officials estimated that 2,100 people packed in—Obama presented his vision as one that would further the American economy.  

"If you're willing to meet your responsibilities to not only yourself and your family, but to your community and your country, you can enjoy the security of a middle-class life," Obama said. "It's that basic bargain that makes this country great. It's that basic bargain that built the economic superpower that we are today."  

After his speech, Obama was swamped by camera-snapping supporters. He smiled and shook hands while Bruce Springsteen's "We Take Care of Our Own" blared from loudspeakers.

Mary Ann Barton contributed to this report. 

Read more about today's visit here:


Vasquez2 July 17, 2012 at 11:19 PM
APRIL said, "Vasquez - are you aware that Maher provides his commentary through a channel that a consumer must pay extra to receive and listen to? It is not exactly a public forum. And do you think it is OK to say that Ed Shultz called Laura Inghram a slut, when in fact he called her a "talk show slut" . Vasquez, your comments here are not libertarian related, but spinned to the far right MY RESPONSE - April, your inaccuracies are embarrassing. Read before you rant! He did NOT call her a "talk show s***, he called her a "Talk S*** , as I correctly stated in my post (was that acceptable, Mary? Just wondered because you didn't say a word to April when she wrote out the "S" word in it's entirety). So what makes me a "right winger" ? The fact that I disagree with you as I have with many Rep. friends? My measuring stick is the Constitution. The candidate that best supports that "platform" wins my vote. I've engaged both Reps/Dems just to see who better substantiates their arguments since I'll be pulling the handle for 1 of them. The Reps consistently support their views (facts, videos, etc) in a civil manner. Disagree w/ the Left and you're a "fat, depressed teabag". I want to hear what both sides have to say and then consider the facts and do the research. Im not loyal to an agenda or party. When you question me, I'll show you my sources rather than dissolve into name calling. This disturbing, hate filled language is exactly why the Left is losing Liberts and Indies like me.
Locally Involved July 18, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Jim H.: Actually proposal put forth right now would be to extend the temporary tax cuts for incomes less than $250k. The tax cuts would end for incomes over $250k. As an example, if you make $500k, then you would not be taxes at the 90's rate OVER $250k, or only 1/2 your income. I looked up on the county board, and apparently, the average HH income in our county is $160k. Agree that our cost of living in this area is ridiculous. I've lived in Boston, NY, Princeton, and Philly. Except for Philly, all have had a ridiculous cost of living. But I've really enjoyed living in these areas and that is the price I pay. Have lived in rural and ex-urban areas and really didn't like the area 'cultures' (wish I could find a better word). Kansas is lovely, but I would not want to live there. So it is what it is.
Tonto July 18, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Oh, the HATE, and the SHAME - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hPR5jnjtLo&feature=fvwrel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxoVqMhuzTo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DlTgrMCxPg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnAcbxZSEzw&feature=fvsr
The BSD Guy July 18, 2012 at 09:21 AM
As this thread (hopefully) comes to an end, I would like to distribute two video links for the Republican, radical right wing extremists, and "Tea Partiers" on this site. Here are some links to them: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45755822/vp/48218943#48218943 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45755822/vp/48218956#48218956 Now, let's see. Bain Capital is shutting down a factory in Illinois, shipping the work to COMMUNIST CHINA, the people working there are given the option of either training their new COMMUNIST CHINESE "discount employees" or being fired, and in the end, they go on unemployment. For what? So a few billionaire elites can rake in more profits? And the right wing nut jobs can't figure out WHY the unemployment rate is so high? I know this is obviously some type of obscure and diverse ROCKET SCIENCE to supporters of the Republican Party, but if you FIRE EVERYONE THAT SPENDS MONEY, OTHER COMPANIES LOSE MONEY. Do you guys get it at all. If you're unemployed, you don't go out to dinner, you buy the cheapest groceries you can, you don't buy consumer goods, you don't buy new or used cars, you probably end up (eventually) on some type of welfare (at the expense of YOU!!!). So what's the answer the Republicans offer: a. Outsourcing is GREAT! b. The economy will "magically fix itself" PLEASE, PUT DOWN THE CRACK PIPE OF ECONOMIC DELUSION!! The COMMUNIST CHINESE? REALLY?? THIS IS YOUR ANSWER??? Just exactly WHO'S the socialist conspirator here.
Mary Stachyra Lopez July 18, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Thank you all for joining in on this discussion. The thread is now closed.

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