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 (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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