West Wing briefing: Obama headed out of D.C. as shutdown looms
A fiery President Obama insisted Tuesday that if he and congressional leaders couldn’t reach a deal to avert a government shutdown, “I want a meeting again tomorrow here at the White House.”
“I will invite the same folks that we invited today,” he added. “And if that doesn’t work, we’ll invite them again the day after that. And I will have my entire team available to work through the details of getting a deal done.”
Obama’s team may not include the president himself. Despite theimpasse in Washington over federal spending, the president as of early Wednesday was scheduled to give two speeches outside of Washington: one on energy in the Philadelphia suburbs, then another Wednesday evening to a group of black political activists in New York.
If the schedule remains intact, it will be the president’s first trip outside the capital since he officially declared Monday he will seek a second term. And while Obama (D) and his aides have repeated said he will not focus on his campaign in the next few months, his schedule may contradict those words.
Obama’s town hall on energy will be held at a wind turbine plant in the town of Fairless Hills in Bucks County, a well-known political bellwether in the Philadelphia area. While the city of Philadelphia overwhelmingly votes Democratic, its suburbs swing between the Democratic and Republican parties, making them crucial for Obama’s 2012 campaign.
The president defeated Sen John McCain (R-Ariz) in Pennsylvania with 55 percent of vote in 2008. But Republicans won the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races there in November, suggesting a dip in enthusiasm for the president’s political party.
In New York City, Obama he won’t be wooing big-money donors, like he did last week. Instead, he will appear at the 20th anniversary of National Action Network, the group run by black activist and Obama backer the Rev. Al Sharpton.
For black voters, it’s not a question of whether they will support Obama, but how many will turn out in 2012. While polls show many other groups who backed the president in 2008 have fallen back in their enthusiasm, around 90 percent of blacks continue to approve of Obama’s performance in most polls. But Democrats say the huge black turnout that helped Obama win in states like Virginia and North Carolina is not a guarantee in 2012,as the motivation of electing the nation’s first black president is now gone.