President Obama regards the week of the Republican convention as “precious time” to campaign, his spokeswoman told reporters to explain why he will not “lay low” that week, as is customary for incumbent presidents.

“We know that this is a close election and we need to compete for every vote that we can compete for,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Air Force One today. “And that’s one of the reasons the President will be spending some time on the campaign trail the week of the Republican convention.”

Psaki was responding to a reporter who had noted that “Traditionally, Presidents kind of stay low during the opposition’s conventions” and asked,  “Is he trying to steal some thunder next week with his own campaign trips?”

She denied that his anticipated campaigning is an attempt to steal Romney’s thunder. “We know that there will certainly be a lot of attention paid to the Republican convention just like there will be to the Democratic convention the week we have it,” Psaki said.  “But we’re not going to give up any precious time or precious time with voters when we have it.”

Psaki said that Obama’s campaign efforts would focus on “the economy, middle-class taxes, affordable health care and having access to that.”

 The Washington Examiner reviewed President Obama’s schedule during the Republican primaries and found that he gave campaign speeches or hosted official events in conjunction with almost every major election of the Republican nominating process — a practice that guaranteed he would enjoy some of the media attention  that might otherwise have gone to his Republican rivals.