President Obama has traveled to Ohio or Florida 36 times since being elected, hitting one or the other of the presidential battleground states on average about once a month since taking office just over three years ago.
According to figures compiled by Mark Knoller of CBS News and reported by the New York Times, Obama has also been to other swing states numerous times, including 15 trips to Pennsylvania, 11 to Michigan, and 10 to North Carolina.
Of the swing states, Ohio is Obama’s top destination, having hosted the president 20 times, according to Knoller, who is recognized as the best chronicler of important presidential activities. Obama has been to Florida 16 times.
The White House has been under fire in recent days for Obama’s incessant campaigning and use of government resources to take him to places which – though he comes bearing a policy announcement – are critical for his reelection.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Friday offered up a straw man in defense of the practice, telling reporters:
So you’re saying he cannot make official event — make official trips to a significant portion of the country because you guys have declared them battleground states.
Of course, no one is saying he can’t go to those states. What has drawn concern is that throughout his presidency, Obama has effectively been campaigning on the taxpayers’ dime by visiting a few states repeatedly.
Other presidents have engaged in similar practices, but not to the extent Obama has.