Illinois’s Gem City, in case you’ve never been there, is located on the Mississippi River, about halfway between Keokuk, Iowa, and Hannibal, Missouri -- two small towns Obama is very interested in impressing. Iowa, of course, has the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus which helped Obama win the nomination in 2008. And Missouri is a bellwether state that usually votes for the winner in presidential elections. (Obama lost Missouri to John McCain by only 6,000 votes, which means he can easily turn it blue.)
Obama learned to use Illinois as a base for conquering Midwestern swing states all the way back in 2004. As a Senate candidate who was even then thinking of himself as the next president, Obama made numerous campaign stops in the Quad Cities -- which got him air time on WQAD and favorable coverage in the Quad City Times, two media outlets located in Davenport, Iowa.
After he was elected, he returned to Moline for a town hall meeting. Even before he started campaigning for president, Obama was no stranger to Iowans.
Obama is devoting almost all of his White House to Main Street Tour to Iowa and Missouri. On Tuesday, he gave a speech at a community in Ottumwa, Iowa, and ate pie and coffee at a diner.
Today, he flew into Quincy and immediately crossed over into Missouri, where he’ll tour a biorefinery and a farm. He’ll be back in Quincy to deliver a speech on Wall Street reform at 4 p.m., which will be the lead 5 o’clock news story on Quincy’s WGEM -- a station that reaches viewers in Illinois, Missouri and Iowa.
Meanwhile, Alexi Giannoulias may be wishing Obama had stayed on the other side of the Mississippi.
Giannoulias will be appearing onstage with Obama, but as state treasurer, not Senate candidate. His presence wasn’t confirmed until Monday, after reports that the White House didn’t give its schedule to the Giannoulias campaign.
Also, when Obama tours the Missouri biorefinery, he’ll be accompanied by Senate candidate Robin Carnahan.
The Quincy visit comes less than a week after Broadway Bank closed, giving the impression that Obama is wiping the flailing Senate candidate off his shoe.
He’d better give his old friend another hug for all the viewers in Iowa, Missouri -- and Illinois.