Obama's melancholy Richmond visit
Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling extended Barack Obama some good, old-fashioned Southern hospitality as the president visits the former capital of the Confederacy today.
On Tuesday, Bolling, whom the Republican establishment is trying to position as Gov. Robert F. McDonnell's successor in 2013, visited Richmond small businesses with reporters in tow to help make sure that Obama gets a frosty welcome.
"If someone had devised a plan to destroy American business, it would look very much like the policies that have been pursued in Washington for the past 18 months," he said.
The business owners participating in the political event claimed that they haven't gotten much from Washington during the brutal recession other than being loaded up with more bureaucratic reporting assignments and having to face down higher health-care costs as a result of Obamacare.
Typically, no mention was made of Obama's new plan to help small businesses or tax breaks available to them. Nor did former president George W. Bush, during whose term the recession began, appear to have come up.
Sadly for Obama, Virginia seems to have turned against him. The conservative state voted for Obama in 2008, but the stubborn and lingering effects of the recession have been skillfully exploited by both mainstream Republicans and the grass-roots Tea Party movement. Richmond, for instance, will host a large Tea Party convention Oct. 8 and 9 that will feature such right-wing stars as broadcaster Lou Dobbs and Texas Congressman Ron Paul. The state's 30-odd Tea Parties have sprung up in just a year.
It's not clear how Obama's visit will affect the tough races of Democratic congressmen Tom Perriello, in 5th District, or Glenn Nye, in the 2nd. The former has embraced Obama while the latter has shunned him, which may be why Obama chose out-of-the-way Richmond for his visit.
| September 29, 2010; 11:14 AM ET
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