White House Launches Fire-Up-the-Base Tour

By Patrick Ottenhoff

Usually when a Philadelphia fan is throwing something, it is in contempt. Angry Philly fans lobbing snowballs at Santa Claus or chucking batteries at players come to mind. But on Sunday, a fanatic who was reportedly enamored with Barack Obama threw a book at the president with the hopes of lobbing it onto his reading list.

Map of the Day
Obama chose Philadelphia to campaign because he is still liked there, and he needs to fire up his base. It's unclear whether this strategy will work, but Democrats are banking on their base getting their candidates to 50-plus-one in the pivotal races. They're hoping Philly activists will phone-bank, door-knock, donate, and vote for Joe Sestak and endangered Keystone State Democrats. 

In the next week, Obama will travel to a slew of progressive cities and blue states, including Boston, Cleveland, Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles. 

Contrast those trips with 2008 when he campaigned in places like exurban Bristow, Va., in an effort to win independent swing voters; or in 2009, when the president visited Ft. Myers, Fla., Elkhart, Ind., and East Peoria, Ill., in an effort to hold the center by signaling he had the economic situation under control. 

This weekend I drove through northeastern Pennsylvania, where incumbent Reps. Paul Kanjorski (11th) and Chris Carney (10th) are fighting for their seats and are considered "toss-ups" by Charlie Cook. Did Obama visit the hamlets and hills of the Poconos to rally support for those Democrats? Nope -- he rallied with the hip-hop band The Roots in Philly. 

The map below from Political Intelligence shows that Obama chose the part of Pennsylvania with the most Democrats:

  Philadelphia is Base of Pennsylvania

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/10/white-house-launches-fire-up-the-base-tour/64455/