President Barack Obama will headline his first re-election rallies next week, marking an important turning point in the race for the White House.

An Obama campaign official says the president will headline back-to-back rallies May 5 in Ohio and Virginia. Obama carried both states in the 2008 election and will need them again in November if he wants to hold the White House.



The official says first lady Michelle Obama will join the president at the rallies, which will be held on the campuses of Ohio State University in Columbus and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

While Obama has been headlining re-election fundraisers for several months, the events in Ohio and Virginia are his first non-fundraising campaign events.

The official requested anonymity to speak ahead of the campaign's formal announcement.


(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)