Let the campaign begin.

A day after his State of the Union address, President Obama was set to begin a three-day tour of five battleground states Wednesday that could be critical to his re-election chances.

Obama is scheduled to make remarks in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Phoenix on the first day, followed by Las Vegas and Denver on Thursday and in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Friday before returning to Washington.

As his campaign team plots various routes to 270 electoral votes, the president’s road trip this week appears to represent campaign director Jim Messina’s “expansion path” in which Obama wins Arizona, which he lost to that state’s native son John McCain in 2008.

Watch Messina describe the various paths in a campaign video:

Obama will use the trip to visit locations that help him put a finer point on the policy proposals he talked about while laying out his blueprint for building a stronger economy during the State of the Union address.

A quick scan of local newspapers shows how his tour is playing in those swing states:

1. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Conveyor Engineering & Manufacturing.

The Gazette: “Obama is expected to speak to about 400 people on the first pillar of his blueprint — his vision for a ‘new era of American manufacturing with more great jobs and more products made in the USA,’ according to senior administration officials. . . . Conveyor Engineering & Manufacturing is a 35-year-old company that started in a small shop outside Shueyville. Today it is a custom manufacturer of stainless steel screw-type conveyors that meet FDA and USDA food grade quality requirements, according to President Graig Cone, whose father, Joe, started the company.”

2. Phoenix, Ariz., Intel Ocotillo Campus.

The Arizona Republic: “The visit to Intel Corp. in Chandler will highlight the company’s efforts to “insource,” or keep high-quality middle-class jobs from being shipped to other nations. Intel’s massive $5.2 billion fabrication plant, scheduled to open in 2013, will produce microchips for personal computers and servers and is expected to employ 1,000 highly skilled workers.”

3. Las Vegas, Nevada, UPS Las Vegas South

Las Vegas Sun: “‘American energy’ will be the topic Obama addresses in Las Vegas, senior White House advisers said Monday.. . . Last year, UPS announced it had contracted with Clean Energy Fuels Corp. to roll out a fleet of 48 liquefied natural gas-fueled transport trucks at a new LNG fueling station. The initial contract, set for seven years, started in 2011. So where was this station built for this rollout with UPS? Where else: Las Vegas.”

4. Denver, Colo., Buckley Air Force Base

Denver Business Journal: “In December, Obama signed a defense-spending bill that budgets $70 million in the ongoing fiscal year to start work on a secretive, $141 million center for U.S. intelligence gathering at Buckley that could support up to 300 building jobs.”

5. Ann Arbor, Mich., University of Michigan

AnnArbor.com: “Obama will speak about college affordability before a crowd at the Al Glick Field House on U-M’s South Campus in Ann Arbor. . . . The cost of U-M’s tuition outpaces that of the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina, two prestigious public universities. A recent analysis by the Center for Michigan asserts that Michigan’s public universities are among the most expensive in the nation.”