Obama to visit Atlanta next week

The White House provided no further details on the visit, but he is expected to address pre-kindergarten education as part of a post-State of the Union swing through the South.

It will be Obama’s first visit to Georgia since his re-election. His most recent trip to the area was in June last year, when he raised money for his campaign and stopped for hot dogs at the Varsity. He also raised money in the Atlanta area last March with actor Tyler Perry.

Obama has sought an outside-the-Beltway approach to advance his second-term agenda so far. In recent weeks he has traveled to Las Vegas to speak about immigration reform and Minneapolis to push for new gun laws.

Obama’s State of the Union speech to Congress is scheduled Tuesday. Wednesday he will travel to Asheville, N.C., according to local news reports, followed by his Atlanta trip.

In addition, the president is using his massive network of campaign supporters to urge Congress to act on his priorities. An email Friday afternoon to the campaign list — rebranded from “Obama For America” to “Organizing For Action” — asked supporters to share a message demanding Congress “close background check loopholes” for gun sales.

Georgia did not back Obama’s re-election, voting for his opponent, Mitt Romney, by 53.3 percent to 45.5 percent. Georgia Democratic Party Chairman Mike Berlon pointed out that those numbers came without the national parties or campaigns spending any money in the state. With its growing minority population, Georgia could be a closely contested state in a few years.

“In my conversations with the Democratic National Committee, they view the next two top targeted states as North Carolina and Georgia,” Berlon said. “And this is the beginning of a lot of visits we’re going to have from the president and other people in the administration to push those (polling) numbers up so in 2016 we’re a purple state or a blue state.”

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