Monday, June 11, 2012

Obama makes pitch to rural voters in eight states

If President Obama shows up in an interview on your local television news tonight, you can be certain (with two exceptions) that he considers your state, and probably your TV market, important to his re-election. The markets include Green Bay, Roanoke, Jacksonville, Sioux City, Colorado Springs and Reno, plus Fresno, Calif., and Greenville, S.C. -- in a solid blue state and a solid red state, perhaps included so the White House can say it wasn't all political.

Obama scheduled interviews "in mostly Republican-friendly parts of swing states to promote his Democratic administration’s efforts for rural communities," Margaret Talev reports for Bloomberg News. He also announced "investment of about $2 billion through 2016 for rural businesses" and touted a report from the Council of Economic Advisers, the White House Rural Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Strengthening Rural Communities: Lessons from a Growing Farm Economy."

The "lessons" are a but hard to discern, but the report says "A strong agricultural economy is critical to a strong rural economy," that progress in the farm economy is driven by innovation, more exports, promotion of diverse industries, "supporting rural communities" and "building a clean energy economy," a section that touts Obama's efforts in that area. To download a PDF of the 32-page report, click here.

Bill Bishop of the Daily Yonder analyzed the report, saying it's mostly about agriculture, leaving out the environment, worker safety, education and the hearings the administration had across the country about the lack of competition in the agriculture business. "Four times in the first four sentences, we are told that people who live in rural America are 'hard working' or 'work hard' or are accustomed to 'hard work.' Alright already," Bishop writes. "It's also not very hard to see how members of the Obama administration sees rural America. To them, it's one big farm."  

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