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Obama to begin five-state campaign swing

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is heading into another intense round of fundraising - a three-day, five-state swing to raise money for Democratic candidates on the ballot in November.

Starting Monday, Obama will make stops in Wisconsin, California, Washington state, Ohio and Florida before returning to the White House on Wednesday. In Wisconsin, he will tour and speak at ZBB Energy Corp., which makes batteries and fuel cells that use renewable-energy sources.

In Seattle, Obama will headline campaign events for Sen. Patty Murray. He'll also discuss the new health care law at a meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

After returning, Obama is scheduled to take his family to Martha's Vineyard, Mass., for vacation.

Meanwhile, the first family is headed to the Florida Panhandle this weekend to tout its oil-free white beaches and sparkling turquoise waters for the tourist industry. Conservatives in that Republican stronghold haven't exactly rolled out the welcome mat.

A billboard just outside of Panama City Beach funded by the conservative media organization WorldNetDaily.com says "Show us the birth certificate," a dig by those still questioning Obama's citizenship. And a current GOP candidate for the Bay County commission once jokingly called the president Osama bin Laden.

Bay County has many hotels, motels, restaurants, souvenir shops and ice cream stands along the beaches. The county has voted overwhelmingly for Republican presidential candidates in the last 30 years, supporting the GOP by about a 2-1 margin every year except 1996. In 2008, the county backed Obama's presidential rival John McCain by a margin of nearly three to one.

Still, Buddy Wilkes, general manager of the family-owned Shipwreck Island water park on Panama City Beach, believes the Obamas' visit will have long-term benefits.

"People are going to see pictures of them on the beach and ask, 'Where is that beach?' and then come visit us next summer and summers after that," he said.

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