COMMENTARY: Obama’s Just One of the Guys

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  • President Barack Obama may be strolling into more bars over the next 53 days – all part of a carefully-orchestrated campaign to promote the president’s more relaxed and professorial-free persona.

    This is not a stretch for the president.

    It’s no secret that Obama is a huge sports fan who really likes beer. The president reportedly has his own White House microbrew recipe. So it makes sense that the campaign would like to show Americans that Obama is just a regular guy who can share a few laughs at the bar with the boys.

    Since July, Obama has visited four different bars to sip on cold suds. He also bought Bud Lights at the Iowa State Fair this summer and in May, Obama celebrated St. Patrick's Day at the Dubliner —a popular Irish pub near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

    Obama was greeted by a boisterous crowd who chanted "four more years," and "USA! USA! USA!"  The president ordered a Guinness beer while one woman proudly asked Obama to "sign my face."

    And when the NFL kicked off the season last Sunday, Obama told a crowd in Melbourne, Florida:  “The most important thing I have to say is football starts today,” the president said. “So we intend to be finished to get home in time for kickoff.”

    This beer-and-sports theme is a smart, low-risk strategy to reach undecided voters, and white men in particular, especially since Obama is struggling with white male voters in the homestretch of the campaign.

    By contrast, Romney, a former bishop of his Mormon church, says he hasn’t consumed a beer since he was a young man.

    "I tasted a beer once, as a wayward teenager, and never did it again," Romney told reporters.

    Nobody ever said Romney was fun.

    Meanwhile, at each bar stop so far, Obama has been swarmed by white men who want photos with the president, autographs, if possible, and just about everyone would like to hoist a beer next to Obama.

    Think about it: these guys can tell their buddies that they kicked it with the President of the United States at their local tavern. Who wouldn’t want to share that story?

    Now, will these beer-guzzling guys actually vote for Obama on Nov 6? Maybe and maybe not. It’s certainly worth dispatching Obama to a few bars to connect with voters. And it surely can’t hurt.

    Polls show support for Obama from white males without college degrees remains under 30 percent, a voting bloc that could help re-elect Obama to the White House. In 2008, Obama won 39 percent of the white male vote.

    And during the next two months, Obama will certainly get help from the nation’s union employees.

    Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, said blue collar workers will campaign for Obama in six battleground states — Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida – which should help Obama with white male voters.

    "There's no reason that there should be a white male, or a white, voter gap," Trumka told Reuters.

    Trumka hopes to build on Obama’s new advantage. The president has taken a six-point overall lead over Republican rival Mitt Romney, according to a new CNN poll. In the survey of likely voters, the president’s lead stands at 52 percent — breaking the 50 percent mark — compared with 46 percent for Mitt Romney. When the poll is expanded to registered voters, CNN reported, Obama leads by an even wider margin, 53 percent to 45 percent.

    Obama told supporters in Las Vegas that his campaign recently registered a huge number of new voters.

    "Last week we registered 100,000 voters," Obama said Wednesday. "Those are some big numbers."

    Meanwhile, it also seems that most Americans believe Obama would be a good friend and a nurturing doctor.

    In a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, “half of registered voters said they thought Obama would be a more loyal friend, with 36 percent choosing Romney. Forty-nine percent would rather have Obama nurse them back to health if they were sick, compared to 36 percent for Romney. And a majority — 52 percent — said they’d rather have Obama over for dinner. Only a third of voters said they’d want Romney to visit.”

    On what ABC’s pollster called “the most instructive question,” voters gave Obama a slight edge —  46 percent to 43 percent — on this question: Who would you prefer to have as the captain of a ship during a storm?

    As Obama heads to Ohio and Florida next week to campaign in key battleground states, he might want to stop at a local tavern to talk football with white male voters while sipping a cold glass of Bud Light.
     

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