Obama, Bill Clinton to tag team in swing state road trip through Va., Fla. and Ohio

Former President Bill Clinton will join President Obama for three campaign stops in crucial swing states on Monday.

The rallies come just eight days before Election Day and will be held in Orlando, Fla.; Youngstown, Ohio; and Prince William County, Va.

The events will mark the most intensive burst of campaigning that the two men have undertaken during this campaign and highlight the 42nd president's widely-acknowledged effectiveness as an advocate for his Democratic successor.

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Clinton’s speech was a highlight of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in early September. The rave reviews from that speech prompted Obama to joke that he should appoint Clinton as “Secretary of Explaining Stuff.”

Even Romney wryly acknowledged Clinton's influence when the former president introduced the GOP nominee at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Sept. 25:

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned this election season, it’s that a few words from Bill Clinton can do any man a lot of good,” Romney said.

The tension that marked the relationship between Obama and Clinton in 2008 seems to have given way to a much warmer symbiosis this year. Clinton has campaigned on the stump for Obama and has appeared in television commercials backing the president.

The Obama campaign released an ad Wednesday featuring the former president directly addressing the camera and linking the incumbent’s agenda to his own during the 1990s.

“The stuff some folks are saying about President Obama sounds kinda familiar. The same people said my ideas would destroy jobs and they called me every name in the book,” Clinton says, adding “President Obama’s got it right.”

The ad will air in Nevada, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio and Virginia, according to the campaign.

Clinton’s involvement in the Obama campaign has not been immune from criticism.

A prominent story on the website of The New York Times on Thursday posited that Clinton's advice that Obama aides should paint Romney as an extreme conservative, rather than a flip-flopper, might have backfired.

Still, judging from Clinton’s continuing high-level involvement, Team Obama clearly believes differently. It is placing considerable store in his ability to help the president make his case in the battleground states that will decide the election’s outcome.

Obama continued his two-day tour around the battlegrounds Thursday, beginning the day with a rally in Tampa, Fla.

Recent polls in the Sunshine State have mostly shown Romney pulling into a small lead. But the continued investment of time by the president shows a determination to remain competitive.

Obama delivered his standard stump speech in Tampa, except for one passage where he emphasized his support for reproductive rights for women. The remarks came as controversy continues over statements made by the Republican Senate candidate in Indiana, Richard Mourdock.

Mourdock said during a debate on Tuesday evening that pregnancy resulting from rape is “something God intended to happen.” Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters in the aftermath that Obama “felt those comments were outrageous and demeaning to women.”

Appearing on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” on Wednesday, Obama said:

“I don’t know how these guys come up with these ideas. Let me make a very simple proposition: rape is rape. It is a crime. And so these various distinctions about rape, don’t make too much sense to me; don’t make any sense to me.”

Mourdock's position is that abortion should only be legal when necessary to prevent the death of the mother. He argues abortion should be illegal in cases of rape and incest, and on Tuesday night said that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something God intended to happen."

Although Obama did not use Mourdock’s name during his comments in Tampa, he said: “I don’t think any politician in Washington, most of whom are men, should be making healthcare decisions for women,” adding, “Women should be making their own healthcare decisions.”

The Obama campaign’s quest to appeal as strongly as possible to female voters is evident even in the way the president’s events are staged.

As Obama spoke in Tampa, around a dozen supporters on the stage behind him were within shot of TV cameras trained on the president. All of them were women.