Her husband’s itinerary has been more closely held: The only events that have been announced so far are in Minneapolis today, in support of Minnesota Senator Al Franken and Governor Mark Dayton, and in Manchester, New Hampshire on October 16, where 42 will appear at a Jefferson Jackson dinner on behalf of Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Governor Maggie Hassan. But according to party strategists familiar with his travel plans, his schedule will be as jam-packed as his wife’s, likely including forays into Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as return incursions into North Carolina and Colorado (both of which he visited in September), and Arkansas.
The scope of the Clintons’ peregrinations would be striking on its own. But its significance is amplified immeasurably in contrast with the extreme constriction of Obama’s. Although the president is still greeted warmly on the bright-blue coasts—this week he has collected hefty checks in Gotham, Greenwich, CT, and Los Angeles, with San Francisco on deck today—and in his home state of Illinois, in places where the political action is, he is anathema. Among the dozen Senate races now in play, there is only one in which he is expected to make an appearance: Michigan. By the Democrats running in the eleven other states, each pantingly anticipating the arrival of Hill and/or Bill, Obama’s presence isn’t merely unsought but actively spurned.
To say that the Clintons are popular and Obama is not simultaneously states the obvious and understates the case. Internal Democratic polling pegs Bill Clinton’s approval rating among undecided voters at north of 50 percent; according to a recent survey, he stands along among campaign surrogates in his capacity to change minds. And while Hillary is a less broadly potent figure, her popularity and motivational sway with women voters—certainly a, and arguably the, critical swing constituency in many contested Senate races—is significant, as is her fund-raising prowess. (On October 20, she will headline both a high-dollar fund-raiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee hosted by Hollywood macher Jeffrey Katzenberg and a female-focused buck-raking event being staged by Nancy Pelosi.)