Marine One, with President Obama aboard, takes off from the South Lawn of… (Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty…)
Bucking tradition, President Obama set out on a two-day campaign swing on Tuesday, aiming to steal just a bit of the spotlight from Republicans rallying in Tampa, Fla.
Obama was scheduled for a college tour, with events at Iowa State University and Colorado State University. He's slated to hold a rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Wednesday.
As a courtesy, past presidential candidates have curtailed campaign activities during the other party's conventions. But Obama's campus swing -- aimed at firing up a key demographics -- coincides with the first full day of the Republican speech-making.
He's due to take the podium before the young faces in Ames, Iowa, just as GOP Chairman Reince Priebus kicks off the day's program for the Republican faithful. Obama's Fort Collins, Colo., rally is slated to collide with remarks from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who will launch a prime-time lineup that includes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ann Romney, wife of the candidate.
PHOTOS: Preparations for the GOP convention
Republicans aren't abiding by the unwritten rule this time either. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are expected to hold events during the Democrats' party next week.
Both campaigns are mindful that larger forces may upend their best laid plans. Tropical Storm Isaac swirling off the Gulf Coast has already delayed the RNC schedule and both parties will try to tread carefully. No one wants to appear to be busy tearing down their opponent while homes flood or people evacuate along the Gulf Coast.
Before leaving Washington, Obama delivered an update on FEMA preparations, noting that federal teams had been on the ground for a week.
He warned residents to take the threat seriously.
"Now is not the time to tempt fate, now is not the time to dismiss official warnings,” Obama said. “You need to take this seriously."
"We're dealing with a big storm and there could be significant flooding and other damage across a large area."
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