NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Hoping to rally support among Virginia's veterans, Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Ed Gillespie campaigned with former GOP presidential nominee John McCain at a Veterans of Foreign War post in Hampton Roads on Wednesday.
The Hampton Roads region serves as a home to every branch of the military and has a large veteran population base as a result. In making an appeal to that segment of the population, Gillespie said he would fight to bring veterans care facilities to Hampton Roads and northern Virginia if he's elected.
Both Gillespie and McCain criticized President Barack Obama's foreign policy and said that automatic spending cuts known as sequestration need to come to an end.
"When I see this world and the turmoil it's in because of the failure of this president to lead, I regret more than ever that I lost," McCain said. "After I lost a slept like a baby - sleep two hours, wake up and cry."
The Hampton Roads economy is heavily dependent upon federal spending, especially by the Defense Department.
While Gillespie says the military should not be immune from spending cuts, he said defense spending needs to be budgeted in accordance with national security priorities. Gillespie accused his Democratic opponent, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, of supporting Obama's policies and not being willing to end sequestration.
"We cannot project strength abroad when we are weak at home. We are weak at home today because of the policies that Sen. Warner supported," Gillespie said.
Gillespie told the partisan crowd that he doesn't even agree with his own wife as much as Obama and Warner agree on issues.
"I promise you if I am our senator, I will not be a blank check for President Obama, I will be a check on President Obama," Gillespie said.
For his part, McCain focused on criticizing the president and said Republicans need to take over the Senate.
"This president does not lead and that is causing us disasters," he said.