Team Obama rightly knows that if the president loses Florida and Ohio or Pennsylvania, his bid for re-election next year will likely fail. To win over those states, President Obama has tapped Vice President Joe Biden to help make inroads with Jewish voters in Florida and White working-class voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Julie Pace at the Associated Press weighs in:
A year from Election Day, Democrats are crafting a campaign strategy for Vice President Joe Biden that targets the big three political battlegrounds: Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, states where Biden might be more of an asset to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign than the president himself.
The Biden plan underscores an uncomfortable reality for the Obama team. A shaky economy and sagging enthusiasm among Democrats could shrink the electoral map for Obama in 2012, forcing his campaign to depend on carrying the 67 electoral votes up for grabs in the three swing states.
Obama won all three states in 2008. But this time he faces challenges in each, particularly in Ohio and Florida, where voters elected Republican governors in the 2010 midterm elections.
The president sometimes struggles to connect with Ohio and Pennsylvania’s white working-class voters, and with Jewish voters who make up a core constituency for Florida Democrats and view him with skepticism.
“Talking to blue-collar voters is perhaps his greatest attribute,” said Dan Schnur, a Republican political analyst. “Obama provides the speeches, and Biden provides the blue-collar subtitles.”
While Biden’s campaign travel won’t kick into high gear until next year, he’s already been making stops in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida this fall, speaking at events focused on education, public safety and small businesses and raising campaign cash. Behind the scenes, he’s working the phones with prominent Jewish groups and Catholic organizations in those states, a Democratic official said.
Biden is also targeting organized labor, speaking frequently with union leaders in Ohio ahead of a vote earlier this month on a state law that would have curbed collective bargaining rights for public workers. After voters struck down the measure, Biden traveled to Cleveland to celebrate the victory with union members.