RICHMOND, VA. (AP) - President Barack Obama will campaign next Friday and Saturday in Virginia, and tentative plans call for him to appear in Hampton, Virginia Beach and Roanoke on a campaign swing across the battleground state.
Two Democratic officials in Washington with access to the president's evolving itinerary told The Associated Press on Friday that Obama will visit Virginia to focus on the economy and compare his plan for nurturing the recovery to that of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
Other stops were also penciled in for the Richmond suburb of Henrico County and for an undetermined stop in Washington, D.C.'s northern Virginia suburbs.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the president's itinerary, and warned that because plans were not final, they could be amended later.
Obama and Romney regard Virginia as a battleground on the order of Ohio and Iowa in the fall election. Four years ago, Obama broke a 44-year GOP winning streak in Virginia in presidential elections, and with its 13 electoral votes at stake, an encore is vital to his re-election strategy.
The race in Virginia remains tight. The most recent independent polling a month ago by Quinnipiac University showed Obama slightly ahead by 5 percentage points, 47 percent to 42 percent, over Romney in a head-to-head match with 11 percent undecided, not voting or preferring someone else.
The poll, conducted May 30 through June 4, had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.
Romney was in Salem last week. Obama has visited the state frequently during his first term, and he chose Richmond and Columbus, Ohio, the capitals of two pivotal states, for the formal launch of his re-election campaign in May.
The president's visit steals the spotlight next weekend from the annual summer meeting in Williamsburg of the nation's governors. The host for the National Governors Association event is Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, a potential Romney vice presidential choice.