Obama’s Travel Dropped Sharply in 2013

The president’s visits to Ohio and other politically important states fell dramatically in 2013, and no one seems really unhappy about that.

US President Barack Obama (C) shares a beer with Suzanne Woods (R) and Jennifer Klanac (L) during at Ziggy's Pub and Restaurant Amherst, Ohio, July 5, 2012, during an unannounced visit while on a bus tour of Ohio and Pennslyvania. 
National Journal
George E. Condon Jr.
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
George E. Condon Jr.
Nov. 29, 2013, midnight

What a dif­fer­ence a year makes. It was only 11 months ago that res­id­ents of Ohio thought Pres­id­ent Obama would nev­er leave them alone. He was there, it seemed, al­most every week, ask­ing their deep­est thoughts, shar­ing long bus rides, chat­ting at ice-cream so­cials, and even down­ing a few beers in a pub.

Twenty-two trips span­ning 25 days, Obama was there — more than he was in any oth­er state.

But now? A mere two vis­its in 2013 — quick in-and-out trips with a com­mence­ment speech and a vis­it to a steel mill. No overnight stays. No ice cream, no cheese­bur­gers, no Bud Light.

Ohioans, and res­id­ents of oth­er elec­tion battle­ground states, have had these flings be­fore. Every four years it is a dif­fer­ent suit­or, and 2013 was the col­lect­ive morn­ing after.

All nine of Cam­paign 2012’s hotly con­tested states — Ohio, Flor­ida, North Car­o­lina, Vir­gin­ia, Wis­con­sin, Col­or­ado, Iowa, Nevada, and New Hamp­shire — went from see­ing Obama for 137 days in 2012 to only 19 days this year. Some of those states, in­clud­ing Iowa and New Hamp­shire, have scored not even one vis­it in 2013.

In fact, the whole coun­try has seen less of the pres­id­ent. Last year, Obama spent 178 days out­side Wash­ing­ton. This year, through Thanks­giv­ing, he has spent only 94 days out of town.

The let­down is nat­ur­al. But it still can be a little jar­ring, es­pe­cially in Ohio, be­cause Ohio was spe­cial for Obama. He was par­tic­u­larly ar­dent in his pur­suit of those 18 elect­or­al votes. Who could for­get the strolls in all those parks ““ Schiller Park in Colum­bus, Wash­ing­ton Park in Toledo, Cent­ral Park in Mans­field, Tri­angle Park in Dayton? Or that ice cream so­cial in San­dusky on a Ju­ly day so swel­ter­ing the pres­id­ent had to race to eat his cone be­fore it melted? That was the same day the pres­id­ent stopped for a cheese­bur­ger at the Kozy Corners Diner in Oak Har­bor and pulled his ar­mored bus up to Ziggy’s Pub & Res­taur­ant in Am­h­erst for a pint of Bud Light with the loc­als. And even for the most jaded Ohioan, all that woo­ing was kind of flat­ter­ing and ex­cit­ing.

Ohioans in­sist they un­der­stand, but polls sug­gest there is hurt. A statewide sur­vey re­leased earli­er this week showed the pres­id­ent’s ap­prov­al rat­ing in the state at only 33 per­cent — a sharp drop from the 50.1 per­cent of the vote he re­ceived against Re­pub­lic­an Mitt Rom­ney only a year ago.

Re­pub­lic­ans in the state privately sug­gest that Ohio Demo­crats are cel­eb­rat­ing Obama’s ab­sence, fear­ing that every vis­it will hurt Ed FitzGer­ald, the Demo­crats’ top can­did­ate against Re­pub­lic­an Gov. John Kasich in next year’s gubernat­ori­al con­test. “Un­less things change,” said one vet­er­an strategist, “they really won’t want him here next year.”

But Jerry Aus­tin, who has run sev­er­al suc­cess­ful Demo­crat­ic cam­paigns in Ohio, pre­dicted that the state will see lots more of Obama next year “if his pop­ular­ity re­turns and he is an as­set to the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­ee.” Former Rep. Den­nis Eck­art, a Clev­e­land Demo­crat, agreed, say­ing this lull in vis­its “might be the calm be­fore the storm, with 2014 be­ing a key year.”

Un­til then, though, Ohioans are left with only their memor­ies of the court­ship of 2012.

What We're Following See More »
THE PLAN ALL ALONG?
Manchin Drops Objections, Clearing Way for Spending Deal
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate standstill over a stopgap spending bill appeared headed toward a resolution on Friday night. Senators who were holding up the measure said votes are expected later in the evening. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin had raised objections to the continuing resolution because it did not include a full year's extension of retired coal miners' health benefits," but Manchin "said he and other coal state Democrats agreed with Senate Democratic leaders during a caucus meeting Thursday that they would not block the continuing resolution, but rather use the shutdown threat as a way to highlight the health care and pension needs of the miners."

Source:
UNCLEAR WHAT CAUSED CHANGE OF HEART
Giuliani Out of Running For State
1 days ago
BREAKING

Donald Trump transition team announced Friday afternoon that top supporter Rudy Giuliani has taken himself out of the running to be in Trump's cabinet, though CNN previously reported that it was Trump who informed the former New York City mayor that he would not be receiving a slot. While the field had seemingly been narrowed last week, it appears to be wide open once again, with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson the current favorite.

Source:
ALSO VICE-CHAIR OF TRUMP’S TRANSITION TEAM
Trump Taps Rep. McMorris Rodgers for Interior Secretary
1 days ago
BREAKING
SHUTDOWN LOOMING
House Approves Spending Bill
2 days ago
BREAKING

The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.

HEADS TO OBAMA
Senate Approves Defense Bill
2 days ago
THE LATEST

The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login