President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Scranton, Pa., Wednesday. The stop in upstate Pennsylvania could be a record for third-year presidents lavishing attention on battleground states.
It’s not unusual for the incumbent president to make frequent visits to presidential swing states before an election.
But the Wall Street Journal reports that Obama’s visit to Pennsylvania this week marks his eighth to the commonwealth this year–that amounts to more trips made by Obama to the Keystone State than were made by either George W. Bush or Bill Clinton during their third years in office.
Michael Federici, a political science professor at Mercyhurst College in Erie, said Obama’s campaign is being aggressive, given that it’s not even 2012 yet and battleground state visits are mounting.
“I think it is an indication that they think the economy, which will be the biggest issue, isn’t going to recover much and it’s going to make the president’s re-election efforts extremely difficult,” Federici said. “I mean, I think they believe they’re in a real dog fight. And that’s why they’re kind of pushing at the limits of what’s the custom.”
Christopher Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College, said Obama seems to be more aggressive in traveling to swing states than his predecessors, but he’s not the first to take advantage to this perk of being the incumbent president.
“You get to travel to states on the taxpayer dime in your official capacity as the head of the nation, chief of state,” Borick said. “And with that comes the ability to reach out to voters for the upcoming election.”
A White House spokesman has denied that the frequent trips are political.