Last night, Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren aired an interview she conducted with former president Bill Clinton. Clinton praised Obama for taking his message about his recovery plan “out into the country,” but Van Susteren objected, saying Obama had visited only states he won. “He’s hit…Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Colorado,” she said, which have “recently become Democratic state.” “It looks like a reward,” she complained. Watch it:
Greta is correct in saying that most of the states — four of the five, to be exact — Obama has visited are states he won. However, the places he has chosen to visit represent much less friendly territory, visiting three counties he lost by double digits and only two he won:
Elkhart County, IN: Obama LOST 44 to 56 percent [2/9/09]
Lee County, FL: Obama LOST 45 to 55 percent [2/10/09]
Fairfax County, VA: Obama won 60 to 39 percent [2/11/09]
Denver County, CO: Obama won 75 to 23 percent [2/17/09]
Maricopa County, AZ: Obama LOST 44 to 55 percent [2/18/09]
Moreover, Obama’s local visits have been open to the public — even the part of the public that doesn’t like him. In a radical break from President Bush’s policies, Obama’s town hall audiences have been unscreened, and critics are not only granted access but allowed to ask questions.
CLINTON: But I think when you go out into the country, you’re more likely to get more of your message out, at least in the regions where you are. So I can’t criticize him for getting out of Washington once a week and getting out and around. I think that’s an important part of the job.
VAN SUSTEREN: Except for one thing–times have changed. We’re in a huge economic situation. That’s the first thing. The second thing is the states that he’s hit are Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Colorado, recently–
CLINTON: All in trouble states.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, recently become Democratic states, and it looks like a reward. It just — you know, if you–
CLINTON: Well, he’s going to Arizona next week, though, isn’t he, a state he lost?
VAN SUSTEREN: Right, which is on the edge, the first one. Actually, that’s where he announced the mortgage.
So I’m just saying is that these are just different times. And in terms of, you know, a lot of — symbolically, if you’re telling everybody, “We’ve got an economic situation,” this might be a good time to set a different tone, perhaps.