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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

POTUS and the Permanent Campaign

At The Washington Post, Dana Milbank writes:

In a political culture that long ago surrendered to the permanent campaign, Obama has managed to take things to a whole new level. According to statistics compiled for a book to be published this summer, the president has already set a record for total first-term fundraisers — 191 — and that’s only through March 6. Measured in terms of events that benefit his reelection bid, Obama’s total (inflated in part by relaxed fundraising rules) exceeds the combined total of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.
It’s not just the gatherings officially categorized as campaign events. To a greater extent than his predecessors, Obama has used the trappings of his office to promote his reelection prospects even while handling taxpayer-funded business.
According to the same book, “The Rise of the President’s Permanent Campaign,” by Naval Academy political scientist Brendan Doherty, Obama was the first commander in chief in at least 32 years to visit all of the presidential battleground states during his first year in office. He has kept that pace, devoting nearly half of his travel to 15 swing states that account for just over a third of the population.
The Hill reports:
President Obama risks having his own “mission accomplished” moment in Afghanistan nine years to the day President George W. Bush declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq.

Obama’s surprise trip to the war zone was timed for the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, not Bush’s May 1, 2003 landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier. And Obama spoke to the nation against a modest backdrop of military trucks, a break with the dramatic setting for Bush’s speech.
Yet, like Bush’s speech in front of a “mission accomplished” banner, Obama’s intention was to put an election-year exclamation point on his decision last year to send Navy Seals into Pakistan to kill bin Laden. Obama also sought to remind voters of his 2008 promise to target the terrorist leader by focusing on what he said was a war Bush had forgotten.
AP reports:
The Taliban struck back less than two hours after President Barack Obama left Afghanistan on Wednesday, targeting a foreigners' housing compound with a suicide car bomb and militants disguised as women in an assault that killed at least seven people.
It was the second major assault in Kabul in less than three weeks and highlighted the Taliban's continued ability to strike in the heavily guarded capital even when security had been tightened for Obama's visit and Wednesday's anniversary of the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in neighboring Pakistan.