President Barack Obama is planning a busy October on the campaign trail as election season hits the homestretch.
Obama plans to travel around the country for political events “a couple of times a week,” his top spokesman, Josh Earnest, told reporters on Monday. That will start on Wednesday when the president is slated to fly to south Florida to campaign for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Obama will land in that key swing state just days after Sunday night’s shocking rejection in Colombia of a peace pact with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a rebel group with which the government has been at war for more than 50 years in a conflict that has claimed 220,000 lives and displaced five million people.
That referendum followed a vote in June in the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union, a result that shocked many, including the Obama administration.
Asked if the president intends to alter his message amid a wave of stunning, poll-defining outcomes, Earnest said Obama has “gone to great lengths to make it clear that it’s important for the American people not to be complacent.”
“I think it will be evident in the five weeks or so that remain in this race, that President Obama intends to make a very big risk case in support of Secretary Clinton because of his deeply held feelings about the race and about who he would like to see succeed him,” Earnest said. “And I think that’s consistent with somebody who has not taken the outcome for granted, but rather as somebody who is determined to not let people be complacent.”
Roll Call reported in early August that Obama would employ this very type of fall schedule, similar to a closing pitcher in baseball trying to nail down a win for his team in the final inning.
Obama also is expected to participate in some campaign events this weekend during a trip to Chicago, Earnest said. While no official plans have been announced, Obama typically attends Democratic fundraisers when he visits major U.S. cities.
“He came in and closed during the [Democratic National] Convention in terms of uniting the party,” Vanderbilt University political science professor Marc Hetherington said in August. “The president will have a chance to move the needle again.”
Earnest’s comments came during a briefing in which he announced the administration is severing efforts to coordinate with Moscow about Syria. He also said Obama is considering steps like sanctions that the U.S. could take to punish Russia for its alleged actions, just hours after a “bunker-buster” bomb was used to destroy a hospital there.