Obama, Biden hit the 'Road to Charlotte' in pre-convention tour
By Jonathan Easley - 08/31/12 06:00 AM ET
President Obama and Vice President Biden will make separate trips through a total of seven swing states before arriving at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Obama will arrive in Charlotte on Wednesday after campaign stops in Iowa on Saturday, Colorado on Sunday, Ohio on Monday and Virginia on Tuesday.
Biden gets to Charlotte a day earlier on Tuesday. He’ll campaign in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin on Sunday before campaigning in Michigan on Monday.
The Obama campaign is touting the trip as the “Road to Charlotte,” tour, and they say it will focus on winning over middle-class voters.
The seven states the two Democrats will visit, along with Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Florida, have been the primary focus of both campaigns.
Obama won all of those states in 2008 and will need to hold on to about half if he’s to secure reelection.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has made significant gains in national and swing-state polling since the addition of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to the GOP ticket. The Obama campaign hopes the tour will help them recapture momentum on the heels of the Republican Party’s national convention.
A particular focus for Obama will be attracting the votes of white, working-class men, who he has struggled to win over. The theme for the swing-state tour aims to reverse that trend by focusing on ordinary “American Heroes” from the Mountain West through the Rust Belt.
“The president and vice president will be joined by different ‘American Heroes,’” the campaign said. “People who have shown grit and determination in overcoming obstacles, highlight the progress we’ve made together in rebuilding our economy, and demonstrate the American values of hard work and responsibility that make our country great.”
Some of these individuals will also speak at the convention next week.
Obama’s first stop will be in Iowa, a state the campaign has focused on vigorously in recent weeks. In mid-August, Obama brought his wife, popular first lady Michelle Obama, along with him for three consecutive days in Iowa. The president returned there this week to rally students at Iowa State University.
While Iowa has only six electoral votes at stake, the recurring visits show how important the state is in an election likely to be decided by only a handful of battleground states. The Hawkeye State has particular resonance for Obama: During his historic 2008 run, it was his victory at Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses that catapulted him into the upper tier of Democratic presidential contenders.
Obama has alluded to this consistently in speeches to Iowans, but finds himself tied with Romney in the state, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls.
The president then heads to Colorado, a purple state that many believed would begin leaning Democratic because of shifting demographics. But Obama holds only a slim 1.6 percentage point advantage there, according to the RCP average.
From there Obama will stop in the quintessential battleground state of Ohio. On Tuesday, as the Democratic convention kicks off, the president will campaign in Virginia, which is also presently considered a toss-up.
Biden’s route takes him through Pennsylvania, the rare swing-state where the president enjoys a comfortable lead, followed by Wisconsin and Michigan.
Obama was pulling away in Wisconsin in late July, but Romney has leapt back into contention after naming Wisconsin native Ryan as his running mate.