Political campaigns can't survive on fancy fundraisers alone, so President Obama hit the road on Thursday for a two-day bus tour of Ohio and Pennsylvania to take part in the kind of retail politicking that can make or break a candidate. Dubbed "Betting on America," it will take him through communities where he received strong support in 2008 but cannot take for granted in 2012.
Obama's mantra throughout the trip will be jobs, jobs, jobs. According to a statement issued by his campaign, he will tout his efforts to rebuild the economy through initiatives such as the auto industry bailout and investments in manufacturing. In May, the two battleground states each had a 7.3 percent unemployment rate, below the national average of 8.2 percent. Obama also will continue to paint Republican rival Mitt Romney as a heartless corporate raider who's more concerned about Wall Street than Main Street, and draw contrasts between the two candidates' proposals for strengthening the economy and creating jobs. According to recent Quinnipiac University polls, the president leads Romney in Ohio and Pennsylvania, by nine and six percentage points, respectively. No Republican has won the presidency without winning Ohio.
The trip follows a recent six-state tour Romney took that included some states he hopes to pull from Obama's 2008 win column. The former Massachusetts governor has dispatched two surrogates, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, to shadow Obama at some of the stops on his tour.
"No one should bet against America. But we certainly shouldn't double down on Barack Obama," Pawlenty said on a radio program in Ohio on Thursday. "He's had his chance. It's not working. And we need to get it moving in a different direction."
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(Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/GettyImages)