President Barack Obama Announces 2012 Re-Election Bid - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

President Barack Obama Announces 2012 Re-Election Bid

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama announced his 2012 re-election bid Monday in a video on his website.

"We're opening up offices, unpacking boxes, and starting a conversation with supporters like you to help shape our path to victory," read a message on www.barackobama.com.

NBC News reported that he would file his campaign papers with the Federal Election Commission as Monday morning.

Filing with the FEC allows Obama to start raising money for the 2012 campaign that is expected to shatter records in political spending.

20 months before poll
The official start of his second White House bid comes 20 months before the November 2012 election.

"We're doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you — with people organizing block-by-block, talking to neighbors, co-workers, and friends. And that kind of campaign takes time to build," Obama said in an e-mail to supporters.

Obama is in the middle of a budget battle with congressional Republicans and has focused his message in recent weeks on reducing dependence on foreign oil and investing in innovation and education — themes he likely will highlight in his bid to hold on to the White House next year.

At the same time, Obama has been defending U.S. involvement in military operations in Libya.

Republicans are pressing Democrats to make deep spending cuts to shrink the deficit, another issue that could play a crucial role in the campaign.

The Republican field of presidential challengers is still wide open, however, and no one has formally announced a bid.

Voters split
Obama is expected to avoid overt campaigning while his potential Republican opponents compete against each other.

But he has started doing some fundraising events for his party in recent weeks. Formally announcing his candidacy allows Obama to start filling his own campaign's coffers directly, too.

The president got a boost on Friday with a Labor Department report showing a slight decline in the unemployment rate to 8.8 percent. An improving economy is seen as critical to his re-election hopes.

Opinion surveys show voters are split over Obama. A Real Clear Politics average of several polls showed 47.4 percent of Americans approving of his performance in office and 46.6 percent disapproving.

Poll averages also show Obama beating potential Republican rivals including former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.

Obama, a senator from Illinois before winning the 2008 presidential election, intends to base his re-election campaign out of Chicago. Obama's former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was elected major of Chicago in February and will take office May 16 when longtime Mayor Richard M. Daley retires.

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