The Stash

Should Obama Spend Less Time in New York?

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I see the point the AP is trying to make here, and, if true, it's a legitimate point. But I'm not sure their analysis quite demonstrates what they suggest it does:

An Associated Press review of administration travel records shows that three of every four official trips Obama and his key lieutenants made in his first seven months in office were to the 28 states Obama won. Add trips to Missouri and Montana both of which Obama narrowly lost and almost 80 percent of the administration's official domestic travel has been concentrated in states likely to be key to Obama's re-election effort in 2012.

While similar data hasn't been compiled for previous administrations, new presidents traditionally have used official travel to shore up and add to their political base. Just look at President George W. Bush.

In order to establish that the administration's travel is largely political, wouldn't you want to see the fraction of trips to states (or even congressional districts) that were decided by, say, 5 points or fewer? After all, it's not as if there's a huge political need for Team Obama to spend time in California, Illinois, and New York. Granted, there's always some rewarding of loyal supporters that goes on, and which could be considered political. But what a study like this really wants to show is that the administration is using the perks of incumbency to nail down swing states. I haven't seen the underlying analysis, but it doesn't sound like that's what went on here.

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