WASHINGTON -- It's the kind of trip President Barack Obama relishes -- one that plays to his natural political abilities by taking him outside Washington to mix it up with Americans in small towns and casual settings.
Today, Obama embarks on his first bus tour of the campaign as he seeks to stir up more questions about rival Mitt Romney's business record and subtly contrast himself with a Republican opponent who has struggled to connect with voters.
Dubbed the "Betting on America" tour, the two-day swing will take him through several northern Ohio communities that were critical to his 2008 win in the state and then to Pennsylvania for an event in Pittsburgh.
Obama won both states four years ago, but Romney and fellow Republicans are competing hard to prevail there. The president will campaign in the both states as the nation's latest monthly job creation assessment is released.
Each state had an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent in May, below the national average of 8.2 percent.
Four months before the election, polls show Obama slightly ahead nationally and in several states that are crucial in the hunt to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to win.