Obama, Bill Clinton to campaign for Michigan Dems

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

President Barack Obama will make a campaign stop in the Detroit area in the final week of the midterm campaign, while former President Bill Clinton will stump in Flint next week.

The White House confirmed Wednesday that the president will make the Metro Detroit visit as part of a series of events in at least four states. The former president's visit was confirmed by a high-ranking Democratic source.

Obama will campaign for Democrats Mark Schauer, who is running for governor against first-term Gov. Rick Snyder, and Rep. Gary Peters, the Bloomfield Township Democrat who is challenging former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land to replace the retiring Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit.

The White House confirmed the visit Wednesday and said further details of the president's trip will be announced in the coming days. There were no other details about Bill Clinton's visit, which is scheduled to follow wife Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign trip Thursday to Oakland University.

Michigan's election has drawn many high-profile politicians including Vice President Joe Biden, first lady Michelle Obama, 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as well as former Florida Gov. and 2016 presidential prospect Jeb Bush.

Obama will be in Bridgeport, Conn., Wednesday, followed by a rally in Maryland for gubernatorial hopeful Anthony Brown and Gov. Pat Quinn in Illinois on Sunday.

He will also attend rallies for gubernatorial candidates Mary Burke in Milwaukee, Tom Wolf in Philadelphia and Mike Michaud in Portland, Me.

Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Maine are states that Obama carried twice. Obama won Michigan by 9.5 percentage points in 2012 over Detroit native Romney. He had such a strong lead in Michigan that he didn't visit the state in the six months before the election.

The first lady campaigned in Detroit Friday for Peters and Schauer, while U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is scheduled to campaign in Michigan later this month.

Obama appeared in Ann Arbor with Peters in April, but hasn't campaigned with Schauer. He hasn't campaigned in Michigan for more than six months.

"Democrat candidates for governor have spent this election cycle running away from President Obama's record low approval ratings and failed policies, but make no mistake, they own them now," said Republicans Governors Association spokesman Jon Thompson.

With Democrats facing increasingly long odds of holding the Senate, Obama is shifting his focus to the governors' races in closely fought states. Peters — who holds a lead of close to 10 percentage points in most polls — is the only Senate candidate for whom Obama has announced plans to campaign.

Republicans need to pick up six states to win control, but have shifted focus away from Michigan. The National Republican Senatorial Campaign committee earlier this month canceled $850,000 in planned advertising on behalf of Land.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., will campaign Wednesday for Land in Utica.

Schauer trails Snyder in most polls.

Obama is certain to highlight the auto bailout and the successful turnaround of the U.S. auto industry in his Michigan trip — a staple of almost all speeches the president makes. Democrats in Michigan have made Land's initial opposition to the auto bailout and support for Romney's position — that automakers had to first file for bankruptcy before getting government loans — a big part of the campaign.

dshepardson@detroitnews.com