by Andrew Crisp
President Barack Obama travels to Ohio and Virginia today to officially begin his 2012 campaign for a second term. While many of his speeches and public appearances have been campaign minded over the past months, today marks the official beginning of more grassroots efforts from regional offices.
Ohio alone has 18 offices of the Obama for America campaign located around the state. With the president campaigning on the message of keeping student loan interest rates low, and promoting the policies passed under his administration, he will host rallies at Virginia Commonwealth and Ohio State universities, armed with social media strategies.
To bolster its voter outreach, the campaign will be employing some new technology on Saturday. When attendees arrive at the 20,000-seat Schottenstein Center, they will be greeted by campaign volunteers with iPads asking for email addresses, Twitter handles and a list of issues most important to Buckeye State voters.
Both states made up a big part of Obama's win against 2008 Republican challenger Sen. John McCain.
Presumed GOP challenger and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney points to the latest job numbers for April as indications that Obama's policies have yet to jump-start the economy. He criticized Obama at a rally at the Sauereisen construction materials company in Pennsylvania.
"So many became discouraged, they stopped looking for work," Mr. Romney said, referring to new statistics showing the workforce dropped by 340,000 in April.
"This is a sad time in America when people who want work can't find jobs."
Romney campaigned in Virginia on Thursday, May 3.