Entering what he has called the fourth quarter of his time at the White House, President Obama seems focused on crossing some states off his presidential bucket list.
How else to explain Obama’s trip to Idaho on Wednesday, which brings down the number of states he has yet to visit since taking office to just three with two years to go.
The remaining states on the list, perhaps not surprisingly, consists solely of deeply Republican “red states” — South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.
Obama did visit Idaho during the 2008 presidential campaign in a pre-Super Tuesday appearance seeking support in the state’s Democratic caucus. His visit Wednesday is to last only a few hours, however, as he travels to and from the University of Idaho campus before continuing on to Kansas, where he’ll spend the night.
A spokesman for Butch Otter, Idaho’s Republican governor, said the state was honored but also genuinely puzzled by the decision to choose Idaho for Obama’s first public appearance after the State of the Union address, with some chalking it up to his interest in visiting each of the 50 states at least once.
The Idaho Statesman noted this week that the trip ensures that Idaho’s streak of presidential visits, dating to Lyndon Johnson, lives on. It’s hard to imagine a similar story appearing in a newspaper in Ohio or Florida, huge electoral prizes that Obama has visited repeatedly in his six years in office.
Otter, a former congressman who was sworn into his third term this month, will not be among those greeting Obama when he arrives. The one-time “tight jeans” contest winner had hip surgery Tuesday and will be unable to attend. He’s sending his lieutenant governor in his place.
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