President Launches Bid for Encore Term in Virginia

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President Barack Obama is wrapping up his inaugural campaign foray to secure an encore term with a packed-house rally of 8,000 people in a Virginia basketball arena.

Hundreds of them were soaked in a torrential thunderstorm on Saturday while queued in line outside Virginia Commonwealth University's Siegel Center for the second Obama kickoff rally of the day.

The president opened his campaign for re-election in two states critical to victory in November. He flew to Richmond from a similar rally in Columbus, Ohio, on the Ohio State University campus.

Like Ohio, the crowd was largely a young one, college and high school students and Boy Scouts. It was the same demographic that formed the core of Obama's well-organized army of volunteers that delivered Virginia for him four years ago.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.By BOB LEWIS AP Political Writer