President Barack Obama on Monday emphasized the fulfillment of his promise to end the war in Iraq and pointed to his administration's work for veterans over the last three and a half years.
"Four years ago I made you a promise. I pledged to take the fight to our enemies and renew our leadership in the world. As president, that's what I've done," he said while speaking in Reno, Nevada at the 113th convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Obama declared an end to the Iraq war in December, a decision he vowed to carry out during his 2008 presidential campaign.
"You don't just have my words, you have my deeds. You have my track record," he said. "You have the promises I've made and the promises that I've kept. I pledged to end the war in Iraq honorably, and that's what we've done."
The president also waded in to politics during his speech, pointing to the massive automatic defense cuts scheduled to kick in if Congress doesn't reach a deficit-reduction deal by the end of the year.
"Let's stop playing politics with our military," Obama said. "Let's get serious and reduce our deficit and keep our military strong."
Congress voted for the debt deal last year that put in place a series of across-the-board spending cuts after a congressional super committee failed to reach a compromise on a comprehensive deficit reduction plan.
Regarding the cuts, he added: "There's no reason that should happen because people in Congress ought to be able to come together and agree on a plan, a balanced approach that reduces the deficit and keeps our military strong."
Last week the House, in a landslide vote, approved a bill asking the Obama administration to spell out which agencies and programs would be cut. The Senate attached a similar measure to the farm bill in June.
Republicans, in particular, say the cuts would hurt national security and cost jobs as businesses that contract with the Defense Department warn they will soon have to begin layoffs.
The White House and many congressional Democrats want Republicans to agree to increase taxes on wealthier Americans as part of a deficit reduction plan, something the GOP has steadfastly resisted.
"There are a number of Republicans in Congress who don't want you to know that most of them voted for these cuts." Obama told the crowd of veterans. "Instead of making tough choices to reduce the deficit, they'd rather protect tax cuts for some of the wealthiest Americans even if it risks big cuts in our military."
Monday morning, Obama's campaign released a web video touting the president's achievement of ending U.S. involvement in Iraq.
The video also came the same day attacks across Iraq killed at least 44 people and wounded dozens more. While overall attacks have dropped off in Iraq since the height of violence in 2006, insurgents have routinely targeted Iraqi security forces and civilians since the United States withdrew its troops in December.
Conservative critics have opposed Obama's decision to end the U.S. military presence in Iraq, arguing that some American forces should remain to help the Iraqis maintain order.
Among other items, Obama also highlighted his fight to pass a new legislation for veterans. In 2010, Obama signed a $3.6 billion bill significantly boosting federal support for disabled military veterans and their caregivers. And in February of this year, he unveiled a new $5 billion veterans jobs plan that the administration said would put thousands back to work.
The president last spoke to the VFW in 2009. His Republican challenger Mitt Romney will address the group on Tuesday.