Ohio and Virginia are among the swing states expected to be hotly contested by the Obama and the Romney campaigns this fall, and Obama has been maintaining a steady schedule of trips to both states.
Since his inauguration in January 2009, Obama has visited Ohio 20 separate times, including four times this year, according to The Washington Post’s POTUS Tracker. Obama visited Virginia 66 times in the same period, including five visits this year.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has criticized Obama’s time on the trail, arguing late last month that “his campaign ought to be reimbursing the Treasury” for his three-state swing to college campuses last week to urge Congress to pass an extension of current federal student loan rates.
Of course, it’s worth noting that members of Congress spend their fair share of time on the trail, too — the House is scheduled to be in session only 109 of 261 weekdays this year, and the Senate is expected to meet for only 22 of the first 36 weeks of the year. Both chambers are on recess this week.
Even so, while Saturday’s events mark the formal beginning of the general election, the past week has been a particularly active one for the Obama campaign.
This day last week, the Obama campaign launched a Web video suggesting that a President Mitt Romney would not have killed Osama bin Laden.
There was a campaign event Sunday night headlined by Obama and former President Bill Clinton, the duo’s first joint fundraiser this year.
On Monday, the Obama campaign released a Web video unveiling its new slogan, “Forward.” There was the campaign’s Tuesday release of a new TV spot blasting Romney for having had a Swiss bank account — an ad unveiled on the same day that Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on the one-year anniversary of bin Laden’s death.
On Wednesday, as Newt Gingrich exited the GOP race, the Obama campaign marked the occasion with a Web video reminding voters of the former House speaker’s attacks against Romney; later Wednesday, Obama attended back-to-back fundraisers at the W Hotel in Washington.
Thursday brought the release of the “Life of Julia.” And on Friday, Obama held a roundtable with students at Washington-Lee High School followed by a speech on “the importance of having a fair shot at an affordable higher education.”
So, Saturday’s events may mark a “kick off” of sorts, but it’s worth bearing in mind that in the run-up, the Obama campaign hasn’t exactly been sitting around twiddling its thumbs.