It has been less than 24 hours since Mitt Romney effectively ended the Republican primary and assumed the party’s mantle, but President Barack Obama’s campaign hasn’t wasted any time moving into attack mode. Senior campaign officials announced today that Obama and the First Lady will headline their first two official campaign rallies in Ohio and Virginia next Saturday, marking the formal kickoff of the President’s re-election bid.
“Good evening, and welcome to the general election,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters on a conference call to announce the rallies this evening. “The Republicans have settled on a candidate — or should I say settled for a candidate.”
Now that the primary is all but finished, Messina added, Obama will no longer allow Republicans to set the campaign agenda.
“The monologue is over,” he said.
The rallies will also be the first Obama events that are paid for by the campaign, rather than the White House, although Obama has been attending fundraisers and hosting campaign-style rallies for several months. Earlier today, the Republican National Committee filed a federal complaint requesting an investigation into whether the Obama administration has misused taxpayer money to fund his recent swings through key battleground states.
Obama’s chief strategist David Axelrod dismissed those allegations on the call tonight, saying that the campaign is “not going to get hot and bothered by RNC stunts.” He added that Obama’s core message is unlikely to change now that he is in campaign mode.
“We’re not the candidate who reinvents himself week to week,” Axelrod said.
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