Presidential Visits Balance Strategy, Message

August 05, 2013

President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak at Desert Vista High School Tuesday. It is the latest in a series of speeches he jas made around the country about the continued recovery of the U.S. economy.The venue for a presidential event often warrants as much prep as the speech itself. A lot of things might explain the president’s visit. He could be trying to pressure legislators to support his agenda or hoping for favorable coverage from local media.

Political scientist Brendan Doherty said the aides that choose where the president stops try to pick a location that plays into his narrative.

“Phoenix’s experience with the housing market crash and then steps toward recovery will help the president tell the story that he wants to tell," Doherty said. "And it’s not just President Obama who does this. Presidents of both parties look for places where the story of the place echoes the story that the president wants to relay.”

Doherty, who teaches at the U.S. Naval Academy, has studied and written about presidential travel. He said whatever the theme of the speech, there’s always one driving force, “presidential campaigning rarely stops."

Doherty said in his first term President Obama might have been more likely to schedule his speeches in battleground states.

“President Obama won’t face the voters himself again, but Democrats have been openly speculating that demographic changes in Arizona might make it a swing state someday," Doherty said. 'Some political observers might say that President Obama is there, in part, to help boost the fortunes of Democrats generally in the state.”

And to help fill their campaign coffers. Doherty said recent two-term presidents have often spent massive amounts of time helping fellow party members raise money for their next election.

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