“One way or another, this will be my last campaign,” he told locals sitting on picnic tables at a park in Parma, Ohio, before going through the highlights of his life in public office.

Obama has reason to muse about his prior political battles and his future. Unemployment remains high. Polls with Republican Mitt Romney are tight. Money is not flowing into his campaign coffers as quickly as he hoped.

So as he tries to convince voters to give him a second term, the Democratic incumbent did what served him well in 2008: the “retail politics” of kissing babies and shaking hands without showing boredom.