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Obama Heads to Politically Key States Wednesday as 2012 Race Gears Up

President Obama travels to two key swing states Wednesday as he looks to raise money and sell his platform ahead of a general election that is now pretty much set against GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

The president heads to Michigan and the Detroit suburbs Wednesday evening to raise funds at two different campaign events which are expected to net more than a million dollars for the campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

The first fundraiser-the only one that will be in front of television cameras-takes place at the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn. It is the same location Romney used to kick off his 2008 presidential bid on Feb. 13, 2007, and it's likely no coincidence the Obama campaign chose the museum to the American car-making icon to talk about the race.

A key issue Romney is working to overcome in Michigan is position against the federal government's auto company bailouts, something the president is likely to mention now that the general election is all but set. Obama hasn't been shy about mentioning Romney's bailout in previous speeches.

Romney was born in the Detroit suburbs and his father was governor of the state. He defeated Rick Santorum by five points in the Republican primary but his stance against federal aid for Chrysler and GM is unpopular in the region. With both candidates fighting hard for the Wolverine state, auto workers in the Detroit area will play a pivotal role in the vote there.

While Romney has a path to the presidential nomination without Michigan, the traditionally democratic-leaning state is vital to the president's re-election hopes.

Leading up to Wednesday's events, Romney has raised more funds from the Wolverine State than has the president. As of the end of February, Romney has raised $2 million to the president's $1.6 million, but the Michigan fundraisers are expected push the president into the lead.

According to local reports, the event at the Ford Museum is expected to draw 600 people paying a minimum of $250 to attend. Fewer than 50 people are expected to attend the second, more intimate fundraiser. They are expected to pay $40,000 per person.

The latest Real Clear Politics average in Michigan shows President Obama with an 11 point lead.

Before heading to Michigan the president will give a speech on manufacturing and retraining programs in the next-door swing state of Ohio. While the nation's economy has shown small signs of recovery, rust belt states such as Ohio and Michigan have been especially hard hit by the struggling economy. Joblessness is expected to be the central issue in the run-up to November's election.

After peaking at over 10 percent, Ohio's unemployment rate stands at 7.6 percent in the most recent Labor Department statistics. On Wednesday, Obama is expected to hail retraining programs at community colleges for helping to put people back to work.

Ohio is called the nation's quintessential bellwether state and Mr. Obama has spent plenty of time there having made 22 visits as president including visits to Dayton and Columbus in March. The latest Real Clear Politics average shows the president with an 8.6 percent lead over Romney.

 

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