Alaska has the most land of any state but only three Electoral College votes, and President Bush got 61 percent of the vote there four years ago. So when Barack Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe suggested last week that the Democrat might make a campaign trip there, eyebrows were raised.
Newsweek’s Andrew Romano wondered if every reporter covering Plouffe’s press briefing at Democratic National Committee headquarters responded to this Alaska talk by “scribbling ‘crazy’ in his notebook. And underlining it. Twice.”
Crazy or not, Plouffe’s half-baked Alaska idea is apparently sincere.
“That is the plan — we are pretty sure he’s going to come at the end of the summer,” Obama’s newly named Alaska campaign director, Kat Pustay, told the Anchorage Daily News. “The campaign in Chicago is saying this is a battleground state so we’re going to get resources.”
The last presidential candidate to make a campaign trip to Alaska was Richard Nixon in 1960. Nixon carried Alaska, but he narrowly lost the election to John F. Kennedy.
Most observers concluded that the Republican’s time-consuming journey to Fairbanks on the Sunday before Election Day — fulfilling an earlier pledge to campaign in all 50 states — was a blunder.
HOWEVER MISBEGOTTEN Obama’s Alaska expedition might be, at least the people there are eligible to vote for him. That’s more than can be said for the folks the Democrat will encounter on the overseas trip the Obama campaign announced over the weekend.
The July trip to England, France, Germany, Jordan and Israel “will be an important opportunity for me to assess the situation in countries that are critical to American national security, and to consult with some of our closest friends and allies about the common challenges we face,” Obama said in the press release announcing his travel plans.
The trip likely also will be “an important opportunity” for Republicans to score points at Obama’s expense. The same GOP wits who dubbed the most recent Democratic presidential candidate John Francois Kerry are sure to have a fun-filled field day with Obama’s world tour.
More practically, every day Obama spends hobnobbing with the elite in Paris and Bonn is a day not spent campaigning in the handful of swing states where this year’s election is likely to be decided — a roster that, contrary to the giddy hopes at Obama HQ, won’t include Alaska.
Obama’s European excursion, like Plouffe’s remarks last week about sending the candidate to Alaska, Wyoming, and perhaps Texas, is apparently an expression of the sublime optimism that seems to have seized the minds of the Democrat’s top campaign operatives.
With few exceptions, the Beltway press was knocked out by Plouffe’s Power Point presentation Wednesday (here’s the video version) in which he boldly declared that John McCain has “very little” chance to capture any of the 19 states and 251 electoral votes won by Kerry four years ago, while Obama has lots of chances to win the states that Bush won in 2004.
“The point is we’ve got a lot of states where we’re playing offense. John McCain has limited opportunity to win back Kerry states,” Plouffe said as he reprised his presentation for Obama’s supporters, praising their candidate’s “unique strength in states like Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada,” as well as among independents, youth and black voters.
Liberals like Eleanor Clift ate this stuff up with a spoon. Plouffe executed his electoral-map slideshow with “surgical precision,” Clift wrote at Newsweek. “Plouffe is convincing, and here’s why: He ran a brilliant primary campaign.”
HOWEVER “BRILLIANT” it may have been, the way Obama won the nomination is actually cause to doubt his strength in the general election.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?