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President Obama's re-election campaign has gone to the dogs

Published: Tuesday, May 1 2012 9:00 a.m. MDT

Bo is the Obama family's Portuguese water dog and President Obama's burgeoning fundraiser.

Pet Lovers for Obama

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President Barack Obama is strategically employing his Portuguese water dog, Bo, in official campaign-related marketing aimed at gaining more support from pet-loving voters.

"Political pets have long attracted inordinate attention … but Obama appears to be breaking ground by featuring his Portuguese water dog so prominently in official campaign advertisements and fundraising efforts," the Washington Post's Dan Eggen reported Monday.

Specifically, Bo's image graces Internet ads for Team Obama as well as official "Pet Lovers for Obama" pages on Pinterest and Facebook.

Eggen further reported that Obama's focus on pets is part of a larger effort by the campaign to micro-target voters who belong to niche groups such as "women, African Americans, students, military families and countless others."

Obama's re-election campaign — which doesn't "officially" begin until Saturday — is historically significant in terms of the president's unprecedented willingness to blur the lines between official presidential business and campaign activities.

"The president has already set a record for total first-term fundraisers — 191 — and that’s only through March 6," Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote Monday. "Measured in terms of events that benefit his re-election bid, Obama’s total (inflated in part by relaxed fundraising rules) exceeds the combined total of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. … The election is still six months away, but it’s increasingly difficult to distinguish Obama’s political events and speeches from the official ones."

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