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In the final two weeks before November elections, the Obamas are “traveling to the heart of the electoral battleground,” according to NYT reporters Carl Hulse and Jackie Calmes.
Apparently, “the heart” is where they really, really like you.
It’s interesting to compare the Obamas’ recent and upcoming campaign stops to the “heartland” to travels they made in the 2008 presidential race. Then, Obama delivered major speeches in Scranton, PA, Grand Forks, ND, Ft. Wayne, IN, and Grand Rapids, MI, (see this map). Now he’s steering to the coasts and to Minneapolis, stumping on college campuses and in states where he won by margins of 10% or more two years ago.
What’s behind the strategy? The Washington Times writes, “While the president has made stops below the Mason-Dixon line — campaigning for Senate hopeful Robin Carnahan in Missouri this past summer and hitting the trail several times for Democrats in Florida — his support in key swing states has eroded as anti-government sentiment has swept the region.”
Several sources argue that strong endorsement from Obama in regions-formerly-known-as-“the heartland” could actually hurt Democratic candidates.
“In West Virginia, an appearance by the president ‘would probably ensure the defeat of Joe Manchin,’ the Democratic governor who is seeking the seat of the late Robert C. Byrd, according to University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato.”
But the Twin Cities Pioneer Press quotes Manchin himself who sees thing quite differently. “If I were [Obama],” Machin told Politico, “I’d start going to the places where people don’t like you that much.” Manchin, in a close race against Republican John Raese, argued, “You can’t win if you only go where you are comfortable.”