President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney will be with their respective families on the Fourth of July. But given the unmatched patriotic spirit the holiday brings with it, the two will also seek to connect with voters by participating in Independence Day events.
Obama, who spent the weekend at Camp David, Md., plans to host a naturalization ceremony for active-duty troops in the White House's East Room, followed by a picnic with military families as well as his administration staff and their families on the South Lawn, on Wednesday. And Romney, who is out on a family reunion at his New Hampshire vacation home, will take part in a Fourth of July parade in Wolfeboro, N.H.
Obama will speak at the naturalization ceremony, and will give the Outstanding American by Choice award, a recognition from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for "naturalized citizens who have made significant contributions to both their community and their adopted country."
Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will also attend the ceremony, which comes weeks after Obama announced that his administration intends to implement sweeping federal changes to U.S. immigration law that will allow many young people living in the country without proper documentation to gain temporary legalized status through employment.
The picnic at the White House later on Wednesday includes a barbeque, concert and a chance to view fireworks from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. On Thursday, Obama will kick off a two-day swing-state bus tour.
Romney, whose family reunion on his lakefront compound in Wolfeboro includes sports and games known as the "Romney Olympics," is also not entirely abstaining from politics.
Apart from his participation in the Independence Day parade in Wolfeboro, Romney is learnt to have met campaign manager Matt Rhoades, senior adviser Beth Myers and top strategist Stuart Stevens. Given that he has said he will pick a running mate before the GOP convention, it is being speculated that his search for a vice-presidential nominee is on even during his vacation. Romney's eldest son Tagg also serves as an informal political adviser.
Meanwhile, former Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty plans to be in Pennsylvania and Ohio to campaign on behalf of Romney and help counter Obama's bus tour, according to The Associated Press.