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Obama to begin making case for second term

May 05, 2012|By Christi Parsons
  • President Obama greets students after speaking at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Va., on Friday.
President Obama greets students after speaking at Washington-Lee High… (Pablo Martinez Monsivais…)

WASHINGTON -- With a day of large rallies and the unveiling of his stump speech, President Obama on Saturday will acknowledge what has been obvious for months: He is in official campaign mode.

In appearances at college campuses in Columbus, Ohio, and Richmond, Va., Obama will outline his case for reelection and explain the new "Forward" campaign theme his team announced in recent days.

People close to his plans say Obama isn't going for the vibe of his 2008 campaign, which he kicked off on a frigid day at the old state capitol in Springfield, Ill., more than five years ago. That event focused on the historic nature of Obama’s candidacy and on soaring ambitions for the country.

This time around, Obama is a sitting president making a much more specific argument for his election. He’ll talk about his record in office and on particular goals — particularly economic ones — he believes he's best suited to bring about.

Saturday began with the morning release of Obama’s weekly address, in which he reminded listeners of his signature foreign policy successes, the killing of Osama bin Laden and the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan.

"After more than a decade of war," Obama said, "it is time to focus on nation building here at home."

That rhetorical pivot is likely to appear in Obama’s new stump speech, which will ultimately focus on the economy.

The president plans to travel Saturday with First Lady Michelle Obama, and both are scheduled to speak at 1:20 p.m. at Ohio State University in Columbus and also at 5 p.m. at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The Columbus arena has a capacity of 20,000, while the one in Richmond can hold as many as 8,000. Neither crowd approaches the size and scope of Obama’s bigger 2008 rallies, but campaign strategists say that isn’t the point. Everyone knows Obama can turn people out.

The point now is to persuade voters in these two, and seven other, critical swing states.

cparsons@tribune.com

Original source: Obama to begin making case for second term

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