President Obama's campaign announced it would formally beginning its reelection campaign at a one-day tour of two swing state colleges the day after he ended his official, taxpayer-funded two-day tour of three swing state colleges. The president and the first lady will kick off his campaign at Ohio State University on May 5, and then travel to Virginia Commonwealth University, The Washington Times reports. Obama is just getting home from his trip to colleges in North Carolina, Iowa, and Colorado, which count as official presidential visits because he was pushing Congress to prevent student loan interest rates from rising in the summer. But those trips didn't have an all-business feel. At the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, he slow-jammed with Jimmy Fallon; at the University of Iowa, he told an adoring crowd, "I love you back." He stopped by for a much-Instagram'd visit to Boulder's The Sink bar, making one patron briefly Internet famous. But don't call these campaign stops. As Slate's John Dickerson tweeted, "Obama campaign announces he'll campaign in states he regularly visits when not campaigning ending charade of pretending not to campaign."
Obama adviser David Axelrod said of the president's move into campaigning: "It took him a while to get there, but we're there," The Hill reports. Of the Republican primary, Axelrod said: "the monologue is over." But it hasn't exactly been a monologue. In Iowa, The Wall Street Journal reports, Obama referred to Republicans saying the student loan issue was a distraction from economic issues, saying, "Now, think about that for a second. Because these guys don’t get it. This IS the economy.” And he's been unofficially on the campaign trail for a long time. Way back in August, he toured Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota to talk about his mostly doomed jobs plan in "Ground Force One," a super-high security custom bus. In January, he visited Nevada, Colorado, and Michigan to talk about his energy policy. Even Obama himself, in a way, admits the general election has been going on for a while in an interview with Rolling Stone's Jann Wenner. The president says of Mitt Romney, "I don't think that their nominee is going to be able to suddenly say, 'Everything I've said for the last six months, I didn't mean.' I'm assuming that he meant it. When you're running for president, people are paying attention to what you're saying." That goes for both candidates, of course.