With less than a week to go to the presidential election, it's crunch time.
"It's not really game preparation at this point. This is more like two minutes to go in the fourth quarter, and we're trying to do everything we can to win," Washington Redskins Offensive Lineman Jordan Black told Patch.
"We're in two-minute offense at this point."
Black was at the Virginia GOP Victory Office in Ballston, which serves as the headquarters for all of the Republican campaign operations in this state, to help formally launch the Virginia Young Americans for Romney Coalition Wednesday night.
"It fires me up to see the youth in the crowd right now. That's really encouraging to see that young conservatives and young Republicans do exist," he told a room full of staffers, supporters and campaign volunteers. Phone banks run nightly until 9 p.m. on the behalf of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Senate candidate George Allen.
Black, who is in his 10th year in the NFL, talked about watching his dad build a small business, a college bookstore, in a small Texas town growing up. He cited his dad's work ethic and instructions that if you work hard, you will be successful.
"I have this vision of America, the one I grew up in, that allowed me so many opportunities," Black told the crowd. "And now I see my three kids. ... What is the United States of America going to look like when they get into high school? When they decide to go to college? When they have to get a job? Is the spirit of hard work still going to exist?"
He continued: "This is all what I have thought of to be the American Dream. And right now, I see the American Dream under attack."
Black, a Leesburg resident, praised the volunteers' hard work, telling them what they do is important and will affect the future of this country.
He said Romney has momentum right now, though Hurricane Sandy has "kind of distracted everybody" from that.
Romney's position on federal aid and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been in the news lately. The former governor made comments during his primary campaign that such funding should be reduced and shifted to states.
But after Superstorm Sandy devastated the East Coast, primarily the northeast, Romney ignored multiple questions about the issue. Wednesday, his campaign issued a statement saying that as president, he would be sure FEMA "has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission."
Black, who said he identifies himself as a conservative moreso than a Republican, said in a brief interview that states should have more control over such funding.
"For starters, ultimate responsibility lies in the individual. If something were to happen at my own home, I'm going to try to address the problem myself. So that's where I look at stuff like this," Black told Patch. "I don't have a problem in decreasing the funding. I think Govenor Romney actually wanted to give the states more control of that, which should be the way it is. I don't look to increase federal power or oversight. Those issues should be handled by the state."
A campaign spokesman quickly noted that Black doesn't speak for the campaign.
Black, who played for Notre Dame before coming to Washington, also criticized President Barack Obama for the looming defense cuts under the auspices of sequestration, calling it a bad economic decision and a bad security decision, and for the president's "war on coal."
After giving a brief pep talk, he stayed to greet supporters, sign autographs and pose for pictures. He said he may be at other Virginia GOP Victory offices Friday.
The theme of personal responsibility lined his comments.
"I don't want to live in a world where we mock those that go on to have success," Black told the crowd. "What Mitt Romney did in his personal life, what my father did, what I'm doing — it's living the American Dream. And I don't want that to die."