White House Cheat Sheet: Obama's Swing-State Road Show
When President Obama commemorates his 100th day in office next Wednesday with a townhall meeting in St. Louis, Mo., it will mark the eleventh state he has visited during the early months of his presidency -- nearly every one of which is expected to be hotly contested in his 2012 reelection race.
In a little more than three months in office, Obama will have visited Arizona (Phoenix), California (Costa Mesa/Los Angeles), Colorado (Denver), Florida (Fort Myers), Illinois (Springfield/Peoria), Indiana (Elkhart), Iowa (Newton), Missouri (St. Louis), North Carolina (Camp Lejeune), Ohio (Columbus), and Virginia (Langley/Springfield/Willamsburg/Fairfax).
Of those eleven, nine were decided by nine points or less in the 2008 election -- the only exceptions being California and Obama's home state of Illinois -- and five were decided by four points or less. (Also worth noting: all of those nine states were carried by George W. Bush in 2004; seven of the nine flipped to Obama four years later.)
No state was closer than Missouri where Obama lost to Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) by approximately 4,500 votes out of more than 2.8 million cast.
Is it then mere coincidence that Obama is choosing to commemorate his first 100 days as president with a stop in Missouri? White House aides insist that is the case but the Fix has followed politics long enough to know that coincidences like that don't just happen.
The most precious commodity in a campaign or in the White House is the time of the candidate/president so it's nearly impossible to think that Obama's domestic travel schedule has not been chosen with an eye toward 2012 and the states he will need to secure for reelection.
This is nothing new in politics: every first term president spends his first four years positioning himself to win a second four years.
Nor does Obama's swing state tour mean that the sole driving force behind his travel schedule is the 2012 election.
But, what his domestic travel schedule does serve to remind us is that Obama and his inner circle are not simply idealists operating in a world without politics. He and they also carry a strong pragmatic streak -- his decisions to reject public financing during the campaign and to oppose the creation of a 9/11-like commission to look into the harsh interrogations used under the Bush administration yesterday are just two examples -- and understand that without winning in the political arena, victory is not possible on the policy front.
What to Watch For:
Friday's Fix Picks: The football season may be over but the Fix's heart is still in Dillon.
1. Obama: No torture commission.
2. Kathleen Sebelius's confirmation vote on hold -- for how long? (Maybe next Tuesday?)
3. Is Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) in trouble?
4. Milbank on the David Plouffe-Steve Schmidt traveling road show.
Steelman Edges Closer: Former Missouri state treasurer Sarah Steelman is forming an exploratory committee to begin to raise money for a potential Senate bid, and has tasked veteran Republican operatives John Weaver and Ben Ginsberg to oversee its operations. Weaver served as the longtime political adviser to Arizona Sen. John McCain and Ginsberg is widely regarded as the top election lawyer for Republicans. Steelman's decision to form an exploratory committee comes roughly one week after Rep. Roy Blunt, the lone Republican in the race to replace retiring Sen. Kit Bond (R), released underwhelming fundraising numbers for the first three months of the year. If she runs, Steelman would be making her second consecutive primary bid against an establishment candidate. In 2008, she narrowly lost a gubernatorial primary to then Rep. Kenny Hulshof who went on to lose badly to Gov. Jay Nixon (D).
The Club's Congressional Scorecard: The Club for Growth, a powerful third party group advocating fiscal conservatism, has released its 2008 Congressional scorecard -- rating each Member of Congress for their adherence to the Club's principles. Not surprisingly, Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.) -- the only two people the Club has endorsed so far this election cycle -- lead the way with scores of 100 percent and 95 percent respectively. More surprisingly, Sen. Arlen Specter, who is facing a serious primary challenge from former Club head Pat Toomey next year, isn't the lowest rated Republican by the Club. In fact, Sens. Norm Coleman (Minn.), John Warner (Va.), Susan Collins (Maine), Gordon Smith (Ore.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine) all score lower. The lowest rated senator by the Club? It's a five-way tie (at 0 percent), a group that includes now Vice President Joe Biden as well as Sens. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Bob Menendez (N.J.), the past and current chairmen of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
New Texas Senate Polling: Either state Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) or Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) would be favored to claim the seat being vacated by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), according to a new poll conducted by Research 2000 for the liberal Daily Kos site. In general election matchups, Abbott leads Houston Mayor Bill White (D) by a 42 percent to 36 margin and has a similar 43 percent to 36 percent edge over former state Comptroller John Sharp (D). Dewhurst led Sharp by seven points and White by six points in the polling. It's not clear when (or if) there will even be a special election to replace Hutchison. She was initially expected to resign her seat early this year to focus full time on her race against Perry but the current thinking has her staying in the Senate at least through the fall. Democrats believe they have a real chance to score an upset in a special election scenario and both Sharp and White have already raised better than two million dollars for their respective Senate campaigns.
Dover Group Grows: The Dover Group, a Democratic consulting conglomerate, is finally coming to D.C.! The new office will be run by Meghan Gaffney, a fundraiser who has done work for Majority Action, a Senate focused 527 group, and for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Gaffney, whose title will be director of political operations, joins former DCCC spokesman Mark Nevins and former EMILY's List operative Chris Esposito, among others, at the firm. Its client list includes newly elected Rep. Mike Quigley (Ill.) as well as Joe Torsella who is running for Senate in Pennsylvania.
Stevens Schriefer Get Rational: The Stevens and Schriefer Group (SSG) is merging with Rational PR to form Rational 360 -- a new strategic communications firm. "Rational 360 brings together two outstanding veteran firms that both believe in a smart, modern-campaign style approach to solving client communications challenges," said Russ Schriefer. Schriefer and Stuart Stevens are well known figures in the world of political consulting, having handled the ad strategy for the unsuccessful presidential primary bid of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney among many other candidates. The campaign side of SSG will remain separate from Rational 360.
Say What? "Bristol is focused on going to college, raising Tripp and advocating abstinence." -- Meg Stapleton, a spokeswoman for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), in response to Levi Johnston's appearance on "Larry King Live."
Posted by: newbeeboy | April 25, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: broadwayjoe | April 24, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: benjaminanderson | April 24, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: svreader | April 24, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: chrisfox8 | April 24, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: chrisfox8 | April 24, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: DDAWD | April 24, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bsimon1 | April 24, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bradcpa | April 24, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | April 24, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 24, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 24, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | April 24, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 24, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 24, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: MM55 | April 24, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: theamazingjex | April 24, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 24, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 24, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 24, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 24, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: AndyR3 | April 24, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: bsimon1 | April 24, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: newbeeboy | April 24, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: katem1 | April 24, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: scrivener50 | April 24, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: parkerfl1 | April 24, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 24, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 24, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: WRH51 | April 24, 2009 6:34 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 24, 2009 6:27 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 24, 2009 6:20 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.