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Obama barnstorms seven battleground states, starting in Iowa

October 24, 2012|By Kathleen Hennessey
  • President Obama gestures as he speaks to supporters during a campaign stop at The Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds, in Davenport, Iowa.
President Obama gestures as he speaks to supporters during a campaign stop… (Charlie Neibergall / Associated…)

DAVENPORT, Iowa – Trying to stoke his campaign for the final stretch to the election, President Obama began a two-day swing Wednesday that will take him through seven battleground states and, his campaign hopes, just close enough to the finish line to pull off victory in November. 

"Now, this is the first stop on our 48-hour fly-around-campaign marathon extravaganza,” Obama told the crowd of 3,500 gathered under oak trees on the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds for the first stop on the tour. “We’re going to pull an all-nighter. No sleep!”

Obama’s blitz began with the electoral cram-session in Iowa, the scene of his first primary win in 2008 and 15 presidential visits over the last four years. As in most of the other states on Obama’s packed itinerary, the president appears to have a slim advantage over his GOP rival, Mitt Romney, in Iowa.

But here as well as in the other states on the tour, the former Massachusetts governor has pulled within striking distance.

Obama’s campaign is working to force the shift – and demonstrate a sense of urgency. The campaign, which once emphasized Obama’s careful separation of official and campaign business, openly announced the president will be making calls to voters from Air Force One as he flies from state to state.

Obama will sleep on the plane for a red-eye flight from Las Vegas to Florida. He’ll hardly buzz through Richmond on Thursday before casting his vote in person in Chicago and then capping the day with a rally in Cleveland. Even his campaign slogan – “Forward.” – has earned new focus and punctuation for what’s now billed as the “America Forward!” tour.

“This is where we got started, Iowa,” Obama said Wednesday.  “I believe in you and I’m asking you to believe in me.”

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