(WASHINGTON) — Unlike Mitt Romney’s recent bus tour, President Obama’s upcoming roadtrip might feel more like a homestand.
On Tuesday, his campaign announced a two-day bus tour through Pennsylvania and Ohio, which will take him across some friendly turf. Not only did Obama win those two states in 2008, he’ll stop in counties that supported him — the president has four scheduled public appearances, each one in a county he carried in 2008.
On Thursday, Obama will traverse northern Ohio, a Democratic stronghold. On Friday, he’ll visit Pittsburgh, a Democratic outpost in traditionally Republican western Pennsylvania.
Obama will stop at the Wolcott House Museum in Toledo, Ohio, in a county where he defeated John McCain by 31 percentage points; at Washington Park in Sandusky, Ohio, where he won by 4 percentage points; at James W. Day Park and Dobbins Elementary School in Cleveland, where he won by 39 percentage points; and at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he won by 15 percentage points in 2008.
In all, Obama carried the total vote in these four counties by 27 percentage points. If they made up a state, Obama would have won it 63 percent to 36 percent.
Contrast that to Romney’s recent bus tour, on which the former governor ventured into hostile territory. While Obama will play some defense, Romney played mostly offense.
As ABC’s Elizabeth Hartfield reported at the time, Romney’s schedule included stops in many counties Obama won in 2008. By the end of the trip, Romney had appeared in 15 counties, 10 of which Obama won in 2008 and five of which were won by McCain.
In mid-June, Romney’s five-day bus tour swung through New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan — all Obama states in 2008. In the 15 counties Romney visited, including major Obama strongholds in Madison, Wis., and Davenport, Iowa, Obama carried the total vote by 5 percentage points. Counting all votes cast, Obama defeated McCain 50 percent to 45 percent in Romney’s bus-tour counties.
“We’re certainly campaigning on their turf,” Romney strategist Russ Schriefer told reporters the day the tour began.
So why did Obama’s campaign choose such friendly territory?
A campaign official explained the stops as “still-critical towns and markets,” and in Pennsylvania, Obama will reach voters who opposed him last time, as Pittsburgh’s media market covers surrounding counties that all voted for McCain. Pennsylvania’s Democratic counties surround Philadelphia, the state’s southeastern region.
But in Ohio, Obama will largely seek to energize and solidify his 2008 base. The tour will take Obama across the northern part of the state, where every county east of Toledo backed him last time.
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