COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 5 (UPI) --
Political analysts say President Obama's weekend campaign rallies in Ohio and Virginia will reignite some of the enthusiasm that swept him to victory in 2008.
Obama, now 50 and bearing some scars from his first term, appeared Saturday on the campuses of Virginia Commonwealth and Ohio State to launch the latest phase in his re-election bid.
The goal, analysts say, will be to revive his image as a crusader for "change," which resonated so well among college-age voters four years ago.
"I think even though people are a little more tired and he's got a little more gray, he's still got the fire and he's still got the drive," a former Obama senior administration official told The Hill. "He's just going to need to excite and inspire voters just as much as he did last time if we're going to pull this off."
The newspaper said Obama will portray himself as being more in tune with the middle class than Republican Mitt Romney and will contrast his record and plans against Romney's agenda.
"Now Romney has to put his record and his agenda up against the president's, and we look forward to that debate," said senior Obama political adviser David Axelrod.
The Republican camp conceded Obama is a skilled campaigner who will be in his element this weekend; however, they said his own record over the past four years has been a failure and will be a significant handicap.