- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 6, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Hoping for good economic news in the wake of his renomination at the Democratic National Convention, President Obama will embark Friday on a three-day campaign trip to battleground states culminating in a bus tour of the crucial Interstate 4 corridor in Florida.

The president will leave North Carolina on Friday morning for campaign stops in New Hampshire and Iowa, two states hotly contested with Republican nominee Mitt Romney. From Iowa, Mr. Obama will fly to St. Petersburg, Fla., to stump for votes in the Sunshine State this weekend.

A day after Mr. Obama’s high point at the convention, the government will release the jobless report for August on Friday morning. In spite of a slight drop in applications for unemployment benefits, most economists believe the national unemployment rate will remain at or near 8.3 percent, which would provide more firepower for Mr. Romney’s argument that Americans are not better off than they were four years ago.

The Romney campaign said Thursday that the Democratic convention offered “more excuses and finger pointing,” and argued that the president hasn’t achieved results. It said Mr. Obama “has presided over the worst economic record of any president in modern history.”

Mr. Obama, whose campaign consistently tries to demonize Mr. Romney as an unscrupulous man of great wealth, warned supporters Thursday that the Republican’s allies are readying an avalanche of negative ads funded with “massive checks from wealthy donors.”

“I need you to prove the cynics wrong one more time,” the president said on a conference call with supporters who had held tickets to his relocated football stadium address.

He urged people to volunteer for his campaign: “I need you to remember that nothing is more powerful than the work that you guys do. Nothing is more powerful than voices calling for change.”

He said the Democratic convention “offered a clear contrast to what people saw in Tampa” at the GOP gathering. As he heads out on the road for the final two months of the campaign, Mr. Obama will be trying to convince key voting blocs that Mr. Romney’s policies would harm them — young voters, women, minorities (particularly Latinos) and union households.

“He’s going to deliver the same exact message that he would have delivered a week or two weeks ago, and that I expect he’ll deliver a month from now, which is that we need to do more to invest in areas like [the nation’s] infrastructure, help small businesses grow and prosper, [and] we need to protect access to health care for all Americans,” said an Obama campaign official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

“We need to lift up the middle class and make sure their kids are able to go to college. And that won’t change. So that’s what I would expect you’ll hear from him tomorrow and you’ll hear from him for many days between now and Election Day.”

As students have returned to college this fall, the official said, Mr. Obama has spent a lot of time speaking on college campuses — “the center of gravity for the youth vote,” including a three-college swing through Iowa, Colorado and Virginia last week.

One key region Mr. Obama will carry his message to is central Florida, home to a burgeoning Latino population. The counties bordering the 130-mile stretch of I-4 include about 40 percent of the state’s residents.

The president will campaign first in Seminole, Fla., near Tampa. Seminole is in the heart of Pinellas County, which flipped from Republican to Democratic in the 2008 election.

Mr. Obama will then stop in Kissimmee in Osceola County, near Orlando. It’s the only minority-majority county in Florida and served as the core of Mr. Obama’s victory in the state four years ago.

In central Florida, Mr. Obama can be counted on to talk about the Dream Act and his policy announced earlier this year to stop deportations for those who would have qualified for tentative legal status under the legislation. The Senate in 2010 blocked the proposal that would have legalized most illegal immigrants younger than 30.

His two-day bus tour will end Sunday with events in Melbourne and West Palm Beach.

The Obama campaign said the president “will lay out what’s at stake for middle-class families in this election and his plan to continue to restore middle-class security by paying down our debt in a balanced way that ensures everyone pays their fair share and still invests in the things we need to create jobs and grow our economy over the long term, like education, energy, innovation, and infrastructure.”

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