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UPDATE: As was expected, President Obama used the formal launch of his re-election campaign to harshly criticize Mitt Romney, saying that he doesn’t understand the problems facing the middle class. He said Romney is eager to get into power so he can “rubber stamp” the Republican congressional agenda to cut taxes for the rich while slashing spending, reports the Associated Press. The direct attack marks a stark shift from his mostly positive 2008 campaign, notes Politico, adding that the president was hoarse by the end of his 35-minute speech at Ohio State University.
The Washington Post says that attendance at the event seemed to fall short of expectations as the arena wasn’t filled to capacity and campaign officials had said they were expecting an “overflow crowd.” At the same time though, both First Lady Michelle Obama and the president “received a roaring reception,” hinting that Obama might be able to reenergize his supporters.
Saturday, May 5 at 1 p.m.: He may have been in campaign mode for months, but President Obama is officially launching his bid for a second term Saturday with two rallies in the key states of Ohio and Virginia. Although Obama formally launched his reelection bid last year, so far his political events have been limited to fundraisers, notes Reuters. Not anymore. On Saturday he will speak at Ohio State and Virginia Commonwealth in what will be the president’s first real effort to “capture the vintage version of himself,” as the Hill puts it.
With a disappointing jobs report fresh in voters’ minds, Obama will fight an uphill battle to regain the level of excitement he generated during the 2008 campaign. As he previewed in the seven-minute campaign video released recently, the crux of his argument is going to be that real progress takes time. Politico points out that by embracing “Forward” as a slogan, it demonstrates how Obama’s reelection campaign will be “less about aspiration than function.”
Although Obama has often talked like he’s campaigning in fundraisers across the country, official campaign rallies give him more freedom to directly attack Mitt Romney, whose name he has uttered sparingly so far, notes the Associated Press. Indeed, a key part of the White House strategy for reelection is to not necessarily make the vote a referendum about the president, but rather a clear choice between two candidates. And that’s why Obama will move to define Romney in his own terms for those who haven’t been paying close attention to the race, points out the Los Angeles Times.