15 thousand is a difficult number to argue with. There is no doubt the crowd Barack Obama drew today in Richmond was impressive. It is the biggest crowd his campaign has drawn in Virginia since the start of the 2012 campaign.
Huge crowds don't always lead to huge vote totals, but the impressive turnout should provide some perspective on the idea that Team Obama is moving it's forces to other battlegrounds. While it is difficult to aruge that Virginia is more important than Ohio, there is little evidence to suggest that the Obama campaign feels that they can't win Virginia. Today was one example of that committment.
Republicans could argue that this was a perfect place for Obama to hold a rally. In the heart of one of the most democratic regions of the state. But 15 thousand people is 15 thousand people and that is a difficult number to argue with.
This race is far from over.
Here is my story for NBC12:
RICHMOND (WWBT)- We are closing in on Election Day and Virginia remains one of the most important states on the electoral map. Despite momentum for the republican ticket, President Barack Obama showed Thursday that he is fighting to win Virginia for a second time.
If there was ever a time that President Obama needed to see a big crowd in Virginia, it was today, and Richmonders showed up in droves.
"Are you ready to go,' he asked.
Roughly 15 thousand people heard Mr. Obama make the case that he plans to win in Virginia.
"We'll win Richmond,” he shouted to cheers. “We'll win the Commonwealth of Virginia. We'll win this election."
But with his opponent Mitt Romney surging in the polls, Virginia may be less important to an Obama strategy to get to 270 electoral votes, the number needed to win.
Republicans like Pete Snyder, the chair of the coordinated Virginia Victory 2012 group, claim the GOP is "all in" on a Virginia win.
"We have an entire state, if not country that is really hungry for economic change and path forward,” Snyder said. “That is what they get in Romney/Ryan."
Thursday's crowd was filled with people like Melissa Paige. She arrived at 5 am to see the president. Her enthusiasm may be one small indication that democrats aren't ready to give away even one electoral vote from Virginia.
"Re-elections are always important,” she said. “They are always going to be important."
Obama himself isn’t giving up on anything either. He was in the midst of a 48 hour sprint across the country, and you could hear in his voice. It was a little bit hoarse and he seemed just a little bit tired, but not giving any less in a final push to the finish.
Read and see the rest of the story on NBC12.com