By the time he became Prime Minister, Winston Churchill was desperate to get into the action: to try things, to set wheels in motion to get on with the job.Churchill was an action fanatic - he would give any subject his intense thought, consult if necessary and then give clear instruction for action. He would attach to the top of any urgent order a bright red label with "Action This Day" written on it. Winston Churchill on Leadership.
Politico reports the itinerary of the Obama bus tour: The Obama bus trip: a political guide.
President Barack Obama’s summer Midwestern bus trek was about reconnecting with disaffected independents, but the North Carolina and Virginia road trip that starts Monday is a more narrowly targeted exercise in 2012 politics.
The three-day bus tour, with stops in rural towns, suburbs and several cities, literally traces an escape route for Obama’s reelection campaign through two states he carried in 2008 that are must-wins next year even if Obama succeeds in recapturing lost ground in more traditional battlegrounds like Ohio and Florida. . .
Asheville, N.C. (Monday)
Why? To rev up support among white liberals and high-education migrants from the Northeast.
Obama’s bus trip doesn’t include North Carolina’s two biggest cities, Charlotte and Raleigh, which he won by 24 and 15 points in 2008 on the strength of large and highly-motivated African-American communities. Instead, Air Force One will fly into Asheville - Berkeley-in-the-Blue Ridge, a spot of shiny liberal blue in a sea of fiery conservative red western North Carolina.
Asheville only has 80,000 people but it’s an important bastion of white progressives, an arts hub and home to a half dozen universities that were hotbeds of support during the Hope-and-Change era. As such, it’s a conventient stand-in for the state’s much larger progressive heartland: the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill “Triangle,” a much more important basket of Obama support in 2012.
He’s going there to tout the $2 billion in airport renovation cash in his bill, and the crowd greeting him on the tarmac will be likely be adoring. But it’s not yet clear if the region’s Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler — a conservative who has thumbed his nose at Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — will pop by to say howdy.
Millers Creek, N.C. (Monday) and Jamestown, N.C. (Tuesday)
Why? To prove that even tea party Republicans want to avoid teacher layoffs.
On the conference call previewing the trip, one North Carolina print reporter asked a White House aide why the president would bother showing up in two small towns as microscopic as Millers Creek (pop. 2,071, 99% white) and Jamestown (pop. 3,088, 87% white) — and why he’d set foot in two places so hostile to Obama (he got about 30 percent in Millers Creek, and lost Jamestown by a wide margin in 2008).
The answer? The trip gives Obama three valuable opportunities: 1) He gets to show Carolina rural/suburban folk — and a national audience — that he isn’t afraid to venture where he’s not very well liked. 2) He’s visiting the local high school and community college, which have already dealt with teacher layoffs and might soon face more. 3) The congresswoman in Millers Creek is none other than Rep. Virginia Foxx, the Bronx-born anti-Obama GOP crusader who has railed against government spending — after defending her support for a $500,000 federal contribution to a local teapot museum a few years back.
Obama’s message to white, working-class independents: Not all government spending is bad — so why not support a president who uses federal cash to keep firefighters, cops and teachers on the job?
Why? Historic black turnout was the reason Obama squeaked out a 15,000-vote victory in North Carolina and scored a stunning seven-point win in Virginia three years ago.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and other African-American activists reacted angrily to Obama’s first bus tour over the summer, which rolled through lush green farm country in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois and avoided the country’s urban areas, which have suffered disproportionately in the recession. This trip is a bit different — although most of the president’s stops are still in white areas.
On day two, Obama plans to deliver an address at the YMCA in the Greensboro area, North Carolina’s third-largest city. That will be followed by a visit to Langley Air Force Base, on day three, in predominantly-black Hampton, Va.
Greensboro has a 40 percent black population and a rich civil rights history that included the first major lunch counter sit-in 51 years ago and a deadly clash between the KKK and leftists three decades ago; Hampton is home to a huge military population and one of the country’s most prestigious historically black colleges.
Obama will be joined at the Hampton event by First Lady Michelle Obama, who will announce a “major” private commitment to retraining Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, and the visit will be broadcast in one of the areas that helped put the president over the top in 2008.
The stakes, are arguably higher for Obama in North Carolina than in Virginia because his margin of victory was so much narrower in the Tarheel State — which is why Obama’s aides decided to locate next year’s Democratic convention in Charlotte.
The question in Greensboro, as in other strongholds of black support, isn’t whether black voters will back Obama again. They will. It’s whether they will back him in sufficient numbers to offset the loss of independents.
Of all the states Obama won in 2008, North Carolina arguably swung hardest on the surge in turnout; black turnout was 6.1 percent greater than average, according to a Pew analysis of exit polls.
“In 2008 black voters actually turned out at a higher rate than whites in the state, an occurrence pretty much unprecedented,” wrote Tom Jensen of Democrat-allied Public Policy Polling in an analysis of the 2008 election. “Blacks make up 21-22% of North Carolina’s population, but in 2004 made up only 18-19% of the electorate. In 2006 black turnout was proportionally even lower, falling closer to 17%… How would the election this year have turned out different if black turnout had fallen in a more standard range, and what implications does that have moving forward?”
Why? Both are located in a battleground Richmond district — within shouting distance of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Obama is underwater in Virginia, with a 45 percent approval rating, according to an Oct. 11 Quinnipiac poll — and he’s locked in a statistical tie with Mitt Romney and Herman Cain in head-to-head match-ups.
The cause is no mystery: The economy is lousy and the bottom has fallen out with independent voters who favor Romney and Cain by near double digits over Obama.
Obama will end his day Tuesday at a high school in Emporia, a town best know for its I-95 exit. The town itself is racially diverse, although it’s in a county that went two-to-one for John McCain in 2008. That said, it’s located in a mixed area politically, and Obama won the 4th Congressional District, represented by Republican Rep. Randy Forbes, by a few thousand votes last time on the strength of high black turnout and backing from independents.
Forbes also represents North Chesterfield, a Richmond suburb that will host the president on Wednesday afternoon for a visit to Fire Station 9. The message? Vote for the jobs act and none of the nice men and women in the heavy boots will have to get laid off — a message Obama hopes will bring a few of independent defectors back in the fold.
We should meet him with signs that say: "Fast and Furious: Shovel-ready jobs for Mexican gravediggers" or "Holder lied and people died."
Be sure and take lots of digital images of whatever you end up doing.
The media will certainly be watching.