President Obama has a very busy week ahead of him. According to a schedule released by the White House, the president plans to campaign Tuesday through Friday next week for Hillary Clinton. He is likely to keep up the vigorous campaign schedule in the days leading up to the election.
The president is planning a sort of “tour de swing state.” On Tuesday — exactly one week before Election Day — he will head to Ohio to campaign for Clinton at a “Get Out The Early Vote” campaign in Columbus. The next day, he’ll be in North Carolina for a similar event in Raleigh. And on Thursday, Obama will travel to Florida to campaign for Clinton in Miami and in Jacksonville. The president will also attend a Clinton event on Friday, though details on that one have not been released.
That’s a highly unusual move for a sitting president. Obama is the first president in nearly a century to campaign strongly for his chosen successor, as NPR’s Domenico Montanaro reported.
The president’s schedule for next week represents a ramping-up of what he’s been doing all month. Since the start of October, Obama has been campaigning at least once and as many as three times each week for Clinton. He’s already been to the battleground states he plans to visit next week, and has also visited Nevada and California on behalf of the Democratic candidate.
It’s clear Obama has his eye on whom he’ll hand the White House keys to, but he is also playing a larger game, campaigning for candidates running for seats in both the Senate and the House.
In between visits to swing states, he’s also attended events for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which campaigns for Democrats in the House; the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, dedicated to getting Democrats in the Senate; the Democratic National Committee; and the Ohio Democratic Party.
On the campaign trail, as Clinton and Trump both frame their closing arguments, Obama has been making his own case by highlighting not only his argument in favor of Clinton but also the importance of down-ballot races.
At an event on Oct. 20 in Miami Gardens, Fla., Obama balanced his praise of Clinton with two of Florida’s Democratic candidates, Rep. Frederica Wilson, up for reelection to the House, and Rep. Patrick Murphy, who is looking to take Sen. Marco Rubio’s spot in the Senate.
At the start of his speech, Obama was clear he was campaigning on behalf of all Democrats, not just Clinton.
“You don’t have to wait until November 8th to send Hillary to the White House. You don’t need to wait until November 8th to send Patrick Murphy to the United States Senate,” Obama said. “You can vote early starting this Monday.”
He went on to tout Clinton’s accomplishments as first lady, senator and secretary of state, but he spent as much — if not more — time praising Murphy and criticizing Rubio.
Obama’s final push isn’t just a plea for all Democrats. It’s also a move to protect his own legacy.
Many of Obama’s initiatives as president — including his work on climate change, immigration and the Iran nuclear deal — are the work of executive actions, as NPR’s Scott Horsley reported. That means a Republican president could reverse those measures.
And a Republican Congress could dismantle the Affordable Care Act and the Wall Street regulation Obama helped pass — especially if a Democratic president isn’t there to veto legislation.
The president has said so himself.
“All that progress goes out the window if we don’t make the right choice just four weeks from today,” Obama said at an Oct. 11 appearance in Greensboro, N.C., where he campaigned for both Clinton and Democratic Senate candidate Deborah Ross, who is running against Republican incumbent Richard Burr.
“I promise you, your vote matters,” he told the crowd.