VIRGINIA BEACH - President Obama today called for a "new economic patriotism" in America, coining a new phrase for his vision for a second term as the election campaign enters the home stretch.
"During campaign season, you always hear a lot about patriotism. Well, you know what? It's time for a new economic patriotism," Obama told a crowd of 7,000 Virginians, "an economic patriotism rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong and thriving middle class."
Obama also began using the slogan Thursday in a new two minute TV ad with him speaking directly to camera, explaining differences between his economic plans and those of Republican rival Mitt Romney.
With polls showing him ahead in several key battlegrounds, the president signaled today that he is broadening his argument for the closing weeks of the campaign.
"I know some in the crowd may be a little biased," he told his supporters, "but I also want to speak to the audience who may be seeing this over the television."
The president, who has been exuding confidence on the campaign trail over the past few days, sought to cast himself as a leader of "the 100 percent" of Americans - drawing a contrast with Romney, who has suggested his political calculus would not involve courting roughly half the country.
"The values of hard work and personal responsibility and looking after your neighbor, those aren't just values of rich folks or poor folks or the 1 percent or the 99 percent. They are American values, and they belong to all of us," Obama said.
"And if we reclaim those values now, if we rally around a new economic patriotism together," he said, "we can rebuild this economy together."
Republicans pounced on Obama's new slogan, accusing him of practicing "unpatriotic" economics by his own definition. As a candidate in 2008, Obama decried the addition of $4 trillion to the national debt under President George W. Bush as "irresponsible" and "unpatriotic." The debt has risen by $5 trillion over the past four years.
"Our economy needs to be reinvigorated. And the president has laid out his plan. It's a continuation of the old plan," Romney told supporters at a rally in Springfield, Va., "We can't afford four more years of the last four years, all right?"