Obama to Run TV Ads in Six Battleground States

President Obama's re-election campaign has made its first major TV ad buy of the 2012 campaign, and could go up on the air as soon as Thursday, a campaign official told ABC News.

The ad will air in at least six battleground states - Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin - and national cable, the official said.

The buy, which has been described as "limited" in duration, would likely run ahead of Tuesday's State of the Union address, which the president's campaign is using to launch a new messaging offensive through next week.

The White House announced today Obama will travel to Iowa, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Michigan to deliver speeches on his agenda in the three days following the address.

The new ads would also allow the president to for the first time push back against an onslaught of TV attacks against him launched by the Republican presidential candidates and an array of independent political groups and super PACs.

The Obama campaign ran its first TV ads of the 2012 cycle in November: a "tiny" buy on  national satellite providers aimed at signing up supporters as volunteers and potential donors.  It's unclear whether the latest purchase will push a similar message.

 Obama has raised more than $131 million for his campaign through Dec. 31, according to campaign manager Jim Messina. Combined with funds raised by the Democratic National Committee, which will work in tandem with the president, the total exceeds $220 million. Much of that money will likely be tapped for advertising.

Republican National Committee spokesman Ryan Tronovitch said the impending TV advertisements for Obama are an "unprecedented move" this early in a general election campaign and a sign that "he and his campaign team in Chicago are worried that voters have lost faith in his ability to lead."