The Obama campaign rallies on Saturday in Ohio and Virginia--with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle--featured the first use of what for now is the main 2012 slogan: "Forward." On the back of the "Forward" signs: the words "Not Back." The "O" on "Forward" contains the classic Obama logo from 2008. "Hope" and "change" have not been sidelined. Said Obama, as he whipped up a crowd at the Virginia Commonwealth University Stuart C. Siegel Center, "You tell them it's still about hope. You tell them it's still about change." (photo by Lynn Sweet)
"We certainly don't need another fight about a women's right to choose," said Obama. He hit GOP presumptive nominee Mitt Romney gently. "We want business to succeed," Obama said. Referring to a now famous Romney line--"corporations are people," Obama said, "corporations aren't people. People are people." Transcript of Obama, Mrs. Obama remarks in Ohio is HERE.. Transcript of their remarks at Virginia rally is HERE.
Obama, on Romney: "Virginia, we've got to move forward, to the future that we imagined in 2008. We've got to move forward to that future where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.
"That's the choice in this election. And that's why I'm running for a second term as President of the United States of America.
"Now, Governor Romney is a patriotic American. He's raised a wonderful family, and he has much to be proud of. He's run a large financial firm, and he's run a state. But I think he's drawn the wrong lessons from these experiences. He sincerely believes that if CEOs and wealthy investors like him make money, the rest of us will automatically prosper as well."(photo by Lynn Sweet)
Crowd outside of arena at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va. on Saturday, waiting for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle. The First Couple is kicking off "formal" campaigning Saturday with rallies in battleground Virginia and Ohio, where they stumped first in Columbus. (photo by Lynn Sweet)
For those who have been wondering what in 2012 will replace the "Hope" and "Change" slogans from the Obama 2008 campaign: The word is "Forward," and is part of the signage at the rally, along with "Ready to Go. (photo by Lynn Sweet)
When Tim Kaine was Virginia governor--he was the second governor to endorse Obama in 2008. Now he is running for the Senate. At the rally, warming up the crowd, Kaine asked rhetorically, "Is it somehow anti-Virginian to support this president?" (photo by Lynn Sweet)
First Lady Michelle Obama in Richmond--speaking before her husband--reminds the audience about the need to register to vote and to organize. Obama, "needs you to register those voters, right? And to all the college students out here, listen up -- if you all are going to be moving over the summer, remember to register at your new address in the fall. You got that?," said Mrs. Obama.
"Barack needs you to join one of our neighborhood teams and start organizing in your own communities. And just one thing I want you all to understand: If you have any doubt about the difference that you can make, I just want you to remember that in the end, this election could all come down to those last few thousand people who register to vote. It could all come down to those last few thousand folks who get out to the polls on November the 6th." (photo by Lynn Sweet)
A three-person team from the Mitt Romney operation attended the Richmond rally, to make it easier for reporters to get their message take on the event. That's Pete Snyder, chairman of Virginia Victory (the joint GOP/Romney operation), Amanda Henneberg, a Romney campaign spokesman and Leah Geach, a Virginia Victory spokesman. Both sides do it: The Democratic National Committee sent a team to a Romney event in northern Virginia a few days ago.(photo by Lynn Sweet)
Said Henneberg, "We are here to provide a real time response to the Presidents speech. No matter how many lofty campaign speeches President Obama gives, the fact remains that American families are struggling on his watch: to pay their bills, find a job and keep their homes. While President Obama all but ignores his record over three and a half years in office, the American people won't. This November, they will hold him accountable for his broken promises and ineffective leadership."