Thursday’s visit to State College will be President Obama’s 10th trip to Pennsylvania since he took office.
The president has been to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown and Montgomery County. Several trips focused on the midterm elections. He raised money for both Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak, and stumped for Pennsylvania Democrats in two Philadelphia appearances last fall. Obama used Allentown and Pittsburgh settings to deliver speeches on the economy. He also, of course, awarded the 2009 G20 Summit to Pittsburgh.
Pennsylvania is Obama’s second-most visited state as president. The only state with more Obama appearances is Ohio, with 12. Florida comes in third, with eight.
Political scientist Christopher Borick of Muhlenberg College said he’s not surprised those states top Obama’s travel list, given their importance on the electoral map.
“It’s simply the nature of when the president’s out on the trail and there’s a re-election coming up in two years. Every single visit has to be considered through the lens of that race,” he said. “And when he ends up in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania and Florida more than any other states, it’s hard to make an argument that that’s just sort of random luck of the draw.”
President George W. Bush made more than 30 visits to Pennsylvania during his first term, including 2004 campaign appearances. He lost the commonwealth by two points that year, compared with a four-point loss to Al Gore in 2000.
At State College, Obama will tour labs focused on energy efficiency, and then deliver a speech on innovation and improving the economy.