Virginia's veterans are being called to a different battleground in November — the ballot box.
Rallying the troops on Thursday was Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, an Iraq veteran and son of Vice President Joe Biden, who declared, "If we win in Virginia, there really is no path to victory for Mitt Romney."
Beau Biden headlined a little more than two hours before Romney formally accepted the GOP presidential nomination in Tampa.
Veterans account for more than 10 percent of the state's population, and both parties are working hard to curry favor with America's servicemen and servicewomen.
Biden accused Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, of violating a "sacred obligation" to take care of this country's wounded warriors Thursday night at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association headquarters building in Ballston.
"We have a commitment, a sacred obligation, to take care of our veterans from the time they come home to the time they draw their final breath," he said in a brief interview.
"There's a debate about the role of government. There shouldn't be any debate about our sacred obligation to take care of our veterans."
Biden has been on the trail in Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Iowa praising President Barack Obama for increasing Veterans Administration spending, giving a tax cut to businesses that hire veterans, supporting the post-9/11 G.I. Bill, withdrawing U.S. combat forces from Iraq and eliminating Osama bin Laden.
It was a refrain heard from the three other veterans who addressed the crowd of about 70 people.
"The president has kept every single one of his promises," said Seth Lovell, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who served in the Virginia Army National Guard. "Romney doesn't talk about his record with veterans because he doesn't have much of a record to talk about."
Biden said Romney wanted to implement a voucher system for the Veterans Administration and blasted Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, for supporting what he said would amount to $11 billion in cuts to veterans health care in one year.
"Don't tell me what your priorities are," Biden said. "Show me your budget, and I'll see your priorities."
Biden also criticized Republican support for extending tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, saying the $1.2 trillion in lost revenue would benefit a smaller percentage of Americans than those who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. In other words, the "Romney-Ryan budget" would reward a relatively small percentage of wealthy people and penalize a larger number of American servicemen and servicewomen, he said.
"That's all the American people need to know," Biden said. "That's all I'm going to be talking about between now and November."
Biden was joined by Lovell, Army Brig. Gen. Larry Gillespie and Navy Rear Adm. Jamie Barnett.
"I was impressed with his passion," said John Giunta, of Vienna. "As a veteran myself, I feel we need more attention. Some of them are going to have lifelong problems. And if we don't budget for those problems, they're going to be swept aside."
Terron Sims II, of Arlington, said, "If we could get Beau's message pushed out on a regular basis to the American people, it would go over very well."
Sims is chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia's Veterans and Military Families Caucus.
Shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's campaign announced McDonnell would join Romney and Ryan at a Richmond rally today.