COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF COMING TO PALMETTO STATE?
For the first three years and seven months of his administration, U.S. President Barack Obama has avoided South Carolina like the plague … and quite possibly with good reason. As of this writing, he’s also avoided Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah – all solidly Republican states.
Could Obama be on the verge of crossing the Palmetto State off of this list? According to our sources, the answer to that question is a definite “maybe.”
Obama is reportedly contemplating a visit to the newly constructed Dillon Middle School in Dillon, S.C. in the very near future. The school - which was built with a $35.8 million loan from the 2009 “stimulus” act – has a history with Obama.
During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama visited the former J.V. Martin Junior High School (in South Carolina’s “Corridor of Shame”) – a dilapidated structure which was emblematic of our state’s incompetence when it comes to appropriating resources. During his 2008 visit, Obama promised that if he was elected he would find the money to build J.V. Martin students a better school.
After his election, Obama invited one of the school’s students - Ty’Sheoma Bethea – to Washington, D.C. to watch him address the U.S. Congress. During his speech, Obama spoke of the school – and a letter he received from Bethea asking him for help.
“I think about Ty’Sheoma Bethea, the young girl from that school I visited in Dillon, South Carolina – a place where the ceilings leak, the paint peels off the walls, and they have to stop teaching six times a day because the train barrels by their classroom,” Obama said in his speech. ”She has been told that her school is hopeless, but the other day after class she went to the public library and typed up a letter to the people sitting in this room. She even asked her principal for the money to buy a stamp. The letter asks us for help, and says, ‘We are just students trying to become lawyers, doctors, congressmen like yourself and one day president, so we can make a change to not just the state of South Carolina but also the world. We are not quitters.’”
Could Obama really be coming to Dillon to close the loop on this deal?
“Yes,” one of our Democratic sources in the Pee Dee says. “For real.”
Calls to the White House and the S.C. Democratic Party yielded no confirmation of the rumored Obama visit, although we’re told that U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn – a longtime Obama ally – has been spreading the word from his congressional office.
“He’ll be there,” a source close to the Congressman tells FITS.
Obviously, Republicans have been waiting a long time for Obama to pay the Palmetto State a visit. In fact S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley – who ripped Obama during a prime time speech to the 2012 Republican National Convention earlier this week – would likely relish the national exposure associated with such a trip.
Other Republicans no doubt feel the same way.
“I wish Barack Obama would come to South Carolina and defend his record,” SCGOP executive director Matt Moore said last summer.
Will Moore get his wish?
Stay tuned …
South Carolina is among the country’s most reliably Republican states, although former George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove recently pegged it as a “swing state.” Most political maps have it solidly in the column of newly minted GOP nominee Mitt Romney, though.