President Obama lambasted Mitt Romney's tax plan as a giveaway to the "wealthiest" Americans at a campaign stop Wednesday in Ohio, but found himself dealing with a controversy on the side over the military base his campaign chose for a landing strip.
The Mansfield National Guard Base, where Obama's plane landed before noon on Wednesday, is slated for steep budget cuts under the Obama administration's own budget plan -- though that plan may now be in flux in light of the pushback.
The White House was caught seemingly unaware of the implications for Mansfield National Guard Base when questioned about the cuts at Tuesday's press briefing. "I'm not aware of even the policy implications or what issue you're discussing," Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
But Ohio lawmakers and service members are all too familiar with a budget plan that could threaten the Mansfield guardsmen and women, the four C-27J aircraft stationed there and the base itself
"If President Obama has his way, his Air Force One arrival would be one of the final flights into Mansfield Lahm Airport," Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said. "Despite numerous reports highlighting the value of the 179th, and the critical capability they and their C-27J aircraft provide to our deployed soldiers, President Obama wants to do away with the mission for the 800 Guardsmen at the base."
Though Carney was initially stumped on the matter, White House spokesman Josh Earnest later said Obama is "committed to working with the Department of Defense to find a mission for Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base."
Portman on Wednesday put out a memo welcoming this statement but also questioning the details. "Since the new mission is unclear and has yet to be relayed to the Pentagon or the base itself, we hope that the president uses his campaign trip" to clarify, he said.
Obama, though, did not mention the base issues during his stump speech Wednesday.