President Barack Obama departed for a multi-day trip to states imperative for his re-election Saturday in a run-up to the Democratic National Convention next week.
"We're going to be highlighting American heroes heading into the road to Charlotte," campaign spokesman Jen Psaki told reporters while en route to Iowa on Saturday. The ample travel time will also provide the president an opportunity to polish his convention speech.
His first stop on Saturday will be the Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa, less than 10 miles northwest of downtown Des Moines. The stop marks the first by the campaign after the Republican National Convention ended on Thursday night. The president is slated to discuss the economy including the wind energy tax cut, middle-class tax cut and Affordable Care Act.
Later in the day, he will discuss education policy, such as the college tuition tax credit, at Morningside College in Sioux City. He ends off the day in Colorado, where he will give a speech Sunday at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
President Obama will start off the Labor Day holiday in Toledo, Ohio before making a trip down to southern Louisiana to view the hurricane-affected areas near New Orleans. The Louisiana leg of the trip was added on Friday after Republican candidate Mitt Romney announced he would visit the coastal town of Lafitte that day with Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Finally, the president will spend Tuesday in Norfolk, Virginia before re-grouping at the White House ahead of his appearance at the DNC convention in Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday night.
The four previously scheduled stops - Iowa, Colorado, Ohio and Virginia - represent four states the president will most certainly need to win re-election come November. Ohio alone carries special importance for both Obama and Romney, as no Republican has ever won the presidency without it and no Democrat has won without Ohio in the last half century.
All four states are currently in the "toss-up category," meaning they could go for either man. The president holds a larger lead in Colorado - four points ahead of Romney according to Talking Points Memo's PollTracker.
However, his lead in Iowa is shaky at best at 0.7 percent ahead. Ohio and Virginia fall somewhere in between at 2.2 and 1.4 percent respectively.
But North Carolina itself, the pinnacle of the five-day "Road to Charlotte" tour, is also a target for President Obama. He won the state in 2008 and plans to use the convention location this year as a demonstration he can re-win the "New South."
However, according to the same TPM Poll, North Carolina is the only swing state with Romney ahead of the president. He currently holds a 1.2 percent lead over Obama there.
Previewing the convention during a press call on Friday, Obama for America staff said they are excited to lay out their plans for a second Obama administration.
"Next week in Charlotte, we are eager to talk about where we've been and where we're going," senior strategist David Axelrod said, "We're most looking forward to talking about where we go from here."
"This president is committed by experience, by belief, and whole-heartedly to rebuilding the economy," Axelrod added.
The Democratic National Convention will take place September 4-6, 2012 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.
by RTT Staff Writer
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