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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"A Lot of Responsibilities"

    President Obama was asked this week by ABC News Green Bay, Wisconsin, affiliate WBAY why he did not visit the state to campaign on behalf of Tom Barrett, the Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Scott Walker in the gubernatorial recall election in early June.
The president backed Barrett from afar but did not campaign on the ground. Asked why he didn’t visit the state Obama said “the truth of the matter is that as President of the United States, I have a lot of responsibilities.”
I noted the following list on the White House's Speeches and Remarks webpage in an earlier post, but I have reproduced it here for the dates June 1 to June 7:
Speeches and Remarks 
June 07, 2012
Remarks by the President on College Affordability
June 07, 2012
Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event
June 07, 2012
Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event
June 07, 2012
Remarks by the First Lady at a Campaign Event
June 06, 2012
Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event
June 06, 2012
Remarks by the First Lady at a Campaign Event
June 06, 2012
Remarks by the First Lady at a Campaign Event
June 05, 2012
Remarks by the First Lady at Disney Press Conference
June 05, 2012
Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton at a Campaign Event
June 04, 2012
Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton at a Campaign Event 
June 04, 2012
Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton at a Campaign Event
June 04, 2012
Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden at the Cypress Bay High School Graduation Ceremony
June 04, 2012
Remarks by the President on Equal Pay for Equal Work via Conference Call
June 01, 2012
Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event -- Private Residence, Chicago, IL
June 01, 2012
Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event -- Private Residence, Chicago, IL
June 01, 2012
Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event
June 01, 2012
Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event -- Bachelor Farmer Restaurant, Minneapolis, MN
Thirteen of the last seventeen "speeches and remarks" (through June 7th) were at campaign events, including seven in the four days leading up to the June 5th recall-that-wasn't.
    But this is campaign season after all, and it's less than six months until the presidential election.  So how about a broader view?  I conducted a search of the White House website for the phrase "Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event" in the titles of all the site's pages.  The result?  Although the initial feedback says "about 279," when all is said and done it comes out to 74 times in the past 8 months.  That comes to about one every three days.  And that doesn't count times such as "Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton at a Campaign Event" or "Remarks by President Obama and the First Lady at a Campaign Event." And based on Jim Geraghty's post at NRO, the number of fundraisers actually outnumbers the "remarks," presumably because remarks at some fundraisers are not made public.
    While it would be foolish to assert that the president doesn't truly have a "lot of responsibilities," it is obvious he takes his responsibility to get himself reelected pretty seriously.  Certainly more serious than his effort to support Tom Barrett, who well might be wearing a T-shirt these days reading, "I ran against Scott Walker in the Wisconsin recall and all I got from Barrack Obama was this tepid tweet."


As November approaches and the president's schedule fills up with campaign and non-campaign related responsibilities, he might want to schedule the following tweet to go out on the evening of November 5th:
It's Election Day in America tomorrow, and I'm standing by. I'd make an outstanding president. -bo 
I'm sure Tom Barrett would be happy to retweet it.

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