A year ago, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched their “Joining Forces” initiative, an effort to give thanks to military service members and their families.
It’s a nice gesture, and I’m sure there is sincerity in it. But the political element of what is portrayed as a selfless effort to show appreciation is becoming clearer, and the benefits are numerous.
Michelle has been ramping up her campaigning for her husband’s reelection, traversing the country with increasing regularity to thank campaign workers and hold fundraisers.
The fundraising trips, which in the end will cost taxpayers millions of dollars, are almost always given an official cast by White House aides who throw in a “first lady” event related either to military families or Michelle’s “Let’s Move” kids health initiative. Sometimes, the events amount to no more than a meet-and-greet at the airport where Mrs. Obama lands.
Tuesday, for example, Michelle will arrive at the Albuquerque International Airport at 2 pm Mountain Time and be greeted by service members and their families from New Mexico’s Kirtland Air Force Base. The event is so brief that she will have time to make it to a fundraiser scheduled to start a half hour later.
What’s more, Michelle’s devotion to military families fits in with an Obama 2012 campaign determination to mine the military for votes.
The Washington Post reported Friday that the Obama campaign feels it has a genuine shot at making inroads among a population usually considered pro-Republican.
Obama’s effort to win a bigger share of the veterans’ vote than he did in 2008 could make a difference in swing states with large military populations, such as Virginia and North Carolina . . .
The reelection team in Chicago made clear Thursday that it plans to tout Obama’s policy accomplishments and his efforts to improve and promote services for veterans and their families.
“The president and the campaign believe that this is one of the most important issues out there as we bring more than 2 million men and women home from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and deal with the issues they face as returning veterans,” said Rob Diamond, who served in Iraq and is the Obama campaign’s vote director for veterans and military families. “We are out there talking about that, engaging veterans, educating them, making sure they understand how much has been done.”
Michelle’s devotion to the military has also helped refurbish the image of a woman who said during the 2008 campaign that with voters rallying to her husband, it was the first time she had really been proud of her country.