Obama to Launch Campaign With Ohio, Va. Rallies

By Alexis Simendinger - April 26, 2012

‹‹Previous Page |1 | 2 | 3 |

Obama’s hypothetical campaign maps drawn to award him at least the required 270 electoral votes include possible paths through all three of those states. Rallying college-age voters who were too young to vote in 2008 is an element of Obama’s strategy to expand his margins in key states.

Blending White House and campaign travel itineraries (and settling up the bills behind closed doors) is a perk of incumbency long tapped by Republican and Democratic presidents before Obama. But on Wednesday, the Republican National Committee took its complaints about the president’s “misuse of government funds” to the General Accountability Office to request an investigation.

The effort is unlikely to produce immediate audit results, but the letter from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to GAO Comptroller Gene Dodaro accusing Obama of “passing off campaign travel as ‘official events’ ” forced the White House to repeat explanations about the president’s travel expenses and the complex cost-sharing formulas used to divvy up the bills. Those formulas remain murky because they are interpreted, trip by trip, at the discretion of the White House.

As the Congressional Research Service explained in an updated report about presidential travel costs released in 2010, “sometimes it is difficult to determine whether a trip, or part of a trip, should be characterized as official or unofficial. This is especially the case when a trip involves certain activities having partisan consequences, because an inherent part of the official duties of the president and vice president involve their efforts to present, explain, and secure public support for their policies and goals. When they travel and appear in public to defend their policy positions, the difference between their official duties and their activities as leaders of their political party can be difficult to assess. As a result, the White House decides the nature of travel on a case-by-case basis.”

That layering of policy, politics and communications is a distinct Obama advantage, although his campaign team argued that Romney, with his singular focus and no employment demands, has the advantage in concentrating on one ambition while the president governs a country.

Obama’s political team repeatedly described a plan in which the president will gradually accelerate his assaults on Romney and his political appeals to voters, picking up the tempo as he accepts his party’s nomination in Charlotte and approaches the three presidential debates in October. Those televised face-offs -- historically cited by voters as important to their decision-making in close contests -- are planned at campuses in Kentucky, New York, and Florida.

“The president is going to ramp up [his campaign] as the schedule allows until we get to the fall, when obviously we will have debates, [and] we will be deeply engaged on a day-to-day basis,” Axelrod said. 

‹‹Previous Page |1 | 2 | 3 |

Alexis Simendinger covers the White House for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ASimendinger.

Virginia's Results Pose Puzzle for Parties
Salena Zito · November 16, 2014
A President Who Is Hearing Things
Richard Benedetto · November 12, 2014
Bret Stephens' Call for Robust U.S. Foreign Policy
Peter Berkowitz · November 16, 2014

Latest On Twitter