Mitt Romney today wrote an open letter to President Obama ahead of his visit to Virginia. The full letter will run in the The Virginian-Pilot.
Welcome to Virginia, Mr. President! Home of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, the fighters at Langley AFB, the storied Marine Base at Quantico, tens of thousands of veterans from the Battle of Guadalcanal to the Battle of Fallujah, and countless other proud military units, factories, and bases, the Commonwealth is a proud state with a proud history.
Unfortunately, the defense cuts you signed into law will hit Virginians hard. Your insistence on slashing our military to pay the tab for your irresponsible spending could see over 200,000 troops forced from service. It will shut the doors on factories and shipyards that support our warfighters, take a heavy toll on the guard and reserves, and potentially shutter Virginia military bases. It will shrink our Navy below a level that is already not adequate for protecting our national security. Mr. President, our troops, military families, and veterans want to know why defense is the only part of the federal budget you are willing to cut. They deserve better.
Under your administration, the backlog for wounded warriors receiving their disability has nearly doubled, and unemployment among young returning veterans is in double digits. The effect of forcing 200,000 additional service members out of uniform and into a faltering economy, sending them from the front lines to the unemployment lines, will overwhelm overburdened state offices like the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. It will impose suffering and hardship on so many military families.
Every service member, veteran, and military family member in Virginia and the nation will be touched by your defense cuts. So will Virginia's businesses and industry, large and small alike. From 2001-2010, over 14,000 Virginia businesses provided goods and services for our national defense. Unfortunately, the huge economic impact of these looming cuts is not the end of it.
Your own Secretary of Defense has said that they will be "devastating" to our national security, the same as "shooting ourselves in the head." But when Congress presented you a way out of this mess, a mess of your own making, you threatened to veto their bill. And the reason you gave, Mr. President, is that you would not stop devastating cuts to our national security unless Congress agreed to raise our taxes.
I will use my authority as Commander-in-Chief to protect the troops, not veto efforts to protect them. I will never allow our national security to be held hostage to extract political concessions. The ultimate responsibility for securing our national defense rests with the President. I will work to solve our security problems, not spend my time shifting blame.
Virginians know that change is coming, Mr. President. In November, they will make it happen. That is what this election is about.