Even though the President has been essentially albeit unofficially campaigning for months with events that just happen to be in strategic battleground states, next week he will attend his first two official public rallies of the 2012 election. The locations for the kick-off of Obama 2012 are Columbus, Ohio and Richmond, Virginia. From the campaign:
Big news: In 10 days, President Obama is hitting the campaign trail.
On Saturday, May 5th, the President and First Lady Michelle Obama are holding the first two public rallies of the campaign in Columbus, Ohio, and Richmond, Virginia. He’ll speak about how far we’ve come, and lay out the very real stakes in this election: Are we going to continue to move forward, rebuilding an economy that’s meant to last, with a growing middle class and more Americans getting a fair shot? Or are we going to go back to the same failed policies that crashed our economy and left too many folks struggling to catch up? That’s the choice.
The choice of Ohio is no surprise. The state has been the traditional swing state for most of the past century and there is every indication that it will be a critical swing state again this year.
The added choice of Virginia, though, does provide some insight into the campaign’s strategy. Obama did win the state in 2008 with 52.6% of the vote but he was the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the state since 1964. By making Virginia an official kick-off location, the campaign is signalling they plan to seriously contest the state. More importantly, they are signalling that they are expanding the field to create additional paths to winning re-election. By taking Virginia and Mountain West, Obama could win even if he lost traditional must-win states of Florida and Ohio.
Prepare yourself for the next seven months, because the presidential campaign has officially begun.