President Obama arrives in Ohio
(Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP)
David Jackson, USA TODAY
MENTOR, Ohio -- Faced with storm duty as well as last-minute politicking, President Obama opened a four-state campaign swing Saturday in the state that may decide his fate: Ohio.
Obama prepared to speak in the basketball gym of a northern Ohio high school to open a day-long trip that will also take him to Wisconsin, Iowa, and Virginia. That last stop will also feature former President Bill Clinton.
Polls give Obama a slight lead over Republican Mitt Romney in the Buckeye State, though Romney aides say they are closing the gap. No Republican has never won the White House without winning Ohio.
Election Day is Tuesday.
The president traveled to Ohio after conducting a Hurricane Sandy meeting of aides at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The visit included a conference call with officials in northeast states hard hit by the storm, including Govs. Chris Christie, R-N.J.; Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y.; and Daniel Malloy, D-Conn.
"We still have a long way to go," Obama said after the FEMA briefing, though he added that everyone is making a "120 percent" effort.
"We don't have patience for bureaucracy," Obama told reporters. "We don't have patience for red tape."
The president said officials are working on the five most pressing tasks: Getting assets in to restore power; pumping out water from flooding, making sure people's needs are being taken care of; removing debris; and getting National Guard in place.
Turning to politics, Obama holds rallies at a high school in Mentor, Ohio; an arena in Milwaukee, Wis.; a park in Dubuque, Iowa; and a musical theater in Bristow, Va., near Washington, D.C.
Obama is also scheduled for five radio interviews, four by stations based in Ohio: Two from Columbus, and one each from Cleveland and Cincinnati. The other interview is a syndicated radio show.