WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is ramping up a fresh phase of his re-election bid with a bus tour next week, focusing more on direct engagement with voters and less on ritzy fundraisers.
Obama's two-day road trip through Pennsylvania and Ohio, two key battleground states in the November election, kicks off July 5, a campaign official said. It will be the president's first bus tour of the 2012 campaign.
The bus trip also will coincide with the release of the monthly nationwide jobs report, a key economic indicator that could directly affect the president's re-election prospects. The most recent report, for May, showed a slight uptick in the unemployment rate, raising fears among Obama aides of an election-year economic slowdown.
While Obama has been running for re-election for months, his efforts thus far have focused largely on hauling in cash from supporters in dozens of fundraising events across the country as his campaign seeks to compete with energized Republican donors. He spent the early part of this week on a two-day, four-state fundraising blitz that brought in more than $5 million.
The president will still headline campaign fundraisers through the fall, but the official said Obama's schedule would start to include more of a mix of campaign rallies and other events focused on speaking directly to a wide swath of voters in the states Obama needs most in order to hold the White House.
Further underscoring his strategy shift was his campaign's announcement this week that Jennifer Psaki, a former senior White House aide, was joining the president's re-election team as traveling press secretary.
Ohio and Pennsylvania, with 38 electoral votes between them, are crucial to the president's re-election bid. Obama won both states in 2008, but Republican rival Mitt Romney is expected to make a strong play for each.
Just over four months from Election Day, Obama aides consider Ohio a toss-up but believe Pennsylvania is leaning in the president's favor. Romney took a bus tour of his own through Ohio and Pennsylvania earlier this month.
Obama has turned to bus tours before when he needed to reconnect with voters. Last summer, after a bruising fight with congressional Republicans that brought the government to the brink of fiscal default, the president hit the road for a Midwestern bus tour aimed at refocusing his presidency on the economic issues affecting the middle class. He followed it up with a fall trip through Virginia and North Carolina.
Rolling through swing states on a campaign bus allows Obama to engage in more of the informal, retail-style politics that can be hard to achieve in the highly scripted White House. Between his scheduled events, the president is sure to make surprise visits to restaurants and small businesses or stop to greet voters gathered on the side of the road to watch his motorcade.
Obama's itinerary for the bus trip was still being finalized, but the official said the president probably would hold events in northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. The official insisted on anonymity in order to discuss details of the trip before an official announcement from the campaign.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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