WASHINGTON - The Associated Press
Obama visits service members while hosting a July 4 celebration in Washington. AP photo
U.S. President Barack Obama embarked yesterday on his first bus tour of the 2012 campaign as he seeks to pointedly stir up more questions about rival Mitt Romney’s business record and subtly contrast himself with a Republican businessman and former-Massachusetts governor.
The two-day swing will take him through several northern Ohio communities that were critical to his 2008 win in the state and then to Pennsylvania for an event in Pittsburgh.
Obama won both states four years ago but Romney and Republicans are competing hard to win them. The president will campaign in the both states. Each state had an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent in May, below the national average of 8.2 percent.Obama slightly ahead of Romney
Polls show Obama slightly leading Romney ahead of the Nov. 6 election. The race is close despite a topsy-turvy June that included the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obama’s health care law and its split decision on Arizona’s 2010 immigration law. The president’s bus tour follows a six-state bus trip by Romney through the Midwest last month that included stops in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Recent polls by Quinnipiac University found that Obama held a 9-percentage-point lead over Romney in Ohio, and a 6-point lead in Pennsylvania. No Republican has ever won the presidency without Ohio, making it a firewall for Obama. Pennsylvania also gives the Democratic president a large 900,000-vote registration advantage over Republicans. Meanwhile, Obama hailed the selfless dedication of the U.S. military’s “9/11 generation,” on a scorchingly hot July 4 holiday as Americans gathered to celebrate Independence Day.