WASHINGTON — President Obama will be coming to Minnesota sometime before Election Day, White House officials have confirmed, though exactly when and for what remains a mystery.
An administration official confirmed that Obama has added a stop in Minnesota “for a political event in the next two months” to his schedule. The New York Times, which first reported the visit, said it would come “over the next six weeks.”
The thing to watch will be where Obama visits and what he does while he’s here. Minnesota’s 6th District (incumbent Republican Michele Bachmann vs. Tarryl Clark) is a potential pickup opportunity for Democrats, while the 1st (incumbent Democrat Tim Walz vs. Randy Demmer) is a potential defensive liability. Essentially, is this a trip to pick up House seats, or to hold them?
Now, I’ve had an informal bet for months that if Obama came he’d go to Rochester and tour the Mayo Clinic. It makes sense as part of a national strategy to defend the health care law but also to defend Walz and other vulnerable Democrats who happened to vote for that measure.
But there’s a line of logic that sees Obama go into the 6th. If your aim is to paint the entire GOP with the Tea Party brush, where better to make that case than in the home district of the chairwoman of the House Tea Party Caucus? That would represent an offensive attack against Republicans, especially Bachmann.
Option three, of course, is to stay in the Twin Cities. In that case, it would be instructive to watch the president’s speech, see what his message is and who he’s raising money for. Most of Obama’s trips thus far have mixed public speeches with private donor parties and that’s what I’d assume for this trip as well until told otherwise.
Note: This would be President Obama’s second trip to Minnesota since his inauguration, according to unofficial White House Press Corps statestician Mark Knoller of CBS Radio. His last one came in September of last year, when he rallied a Target Center crowd in an effort to speed the passage of health care reform.