WASHINGTON (AP) — As President Barack Obama surveys damage from raging wildfires and thanks first responders in Colorado on Friday, he also will be seeking to convince voters in one of the nation's most tightly contested political swing states that he is a compassionate leader who can command in a crisis.

Obama will spend three hours on the ground in Colorado, which is dealing with the most destructive wildfires in state history. He declared a "major disaster" exists in the state.

Obama's cross-country dash underscores the enormous power of incumbency in an election year. The president has resources at his disposal that a challenger can't compete with, from the ability to fly Air Force One anywhere in the country to the authority to dole out federal funds to help disaster-stricken states.