WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s campaign has begun buying advertising time in four states that will be critical to the president’s re-election effort, a sign that the presidential campaign is entering a new phase.

A campaign official says the Obama campaign has bought ad time in Michigan, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina. The official spoke on condition of anonymity and was not authorized to speak publicly about internal campaign strategy.

Obama’s campaign has not yet launched its television advertising, but the decision to buy ad time shows the campaign is moving closer to directly rebutting Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney and other GOP opponents on television.

The president delivers his State of the Union address on Tuesday and travels to five states to discuss his policies after the speech.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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