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Obama: Come Down Here and Visit

June 14, 2010
tags: Barack Obama, Haley Barbour, oil spill
by Brett

Barack Obama channeled Haley Barbour in making an economic appeal to Americans to come visit the Gulf Coast. “There’s still a lot of opportunity for visitors to come down here. There are a lot of beaches that have not been affected and will not be affected. If people want to help, the best way to help is to come down here and visit,” Obama said.

The president added, “We just want to make sure that people who have travel plans down to the Gulf area remain mindful of that. If people want to know what can they do to help folks down here, one of the best ways to help is to come down here and enjoy the outstanding hospitality.”

For weeks now, Barbour has been on national television asking tourists not to let the media stories of the oil spill affect their decisions to visit the Coast.

Drudge Mocks Obama. While on the Coast, Obama sampled the local fare in another effort to boost confidence that Coast seafood is safe to eat. This included shrimp, crawfish, crab cakes, and seafood salad. Obama also enjoyed a lemon-line snow cone he bought from a local stand, something that has bi-partisan appeal with Barbour adding, “That’s something else we agree on.”

But the Drudge Report took the occasion to mock the president as seen in this headline from Monday night:

Cochran on Obama: Sen. Cochran offered this statement on Obama’s trip to Mississippi: “I am glad the President paid a visit to our state. We appreciate his attention to our concerns about the oil spill and its threats to our economic and environmental well-being.”

Messaging Architecture. DNC pollster Joel Benenson offered these pointers for how Democrats should proceed when talking about the oil spill and how they can frame Republicans. According to POLITICO’s Mike Allen, Benenson’s three points include:

1) “Frame the opposition”: “Big Oil and corporate polluters who have blocked energy reform for decades” and “Politicians protecting the special interests that fund their campaigns.” 2) “Illustrate the costs of our dependence: … $1 billion a day on foreign oil … Oil spill destroying jobs and livelihoods.” 3) “Tap into deeply held values: “Put America back in control of our energy situation: Cut foreign oil spending in half. Invest in energy that’s made in America and creates millions of jobs for Americans.”

Here comes cap-and-trade. We mentioned earlier that Obama’s campaign outfit known as Organizing for America sent out an action alert on behalf of cap-and-trade legislation, using the oil spill as a platform for why it is necessary. POLITICO has learned that Obama plans on using his Tuesday night Oval Office address to defend cap-and-trade or a “comprehensive new energy-climate law” as a White House official described it.

Meeting with Obama. In addition to Barbour, several other officials from Mississippi and Louisiana (as well as Washington) were part of a meeting at the Coast Guard Station in Gulfport. This included: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Rep. Gene Taylor, Sen. Roger Wicker, state Attorney General Jim Hood, Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway, Gulfport Mayor George Schloegel, Harrison County Supervisor William Martin, and Jackson County Supervisor Mike Mangum, as well as Trudy Fisher with the state Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Bill Walker and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Womack.

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