Obama Heads to Seattle, Racking Up More Frequent Fundraising Miles on Air Force One


President Barack Obama will visit the Pacific Northwest Sunday—not to publicly promote his technically challenged signature health care legislation, but to shore up his Democratic base by increasing congressional candidates' campaign war chests. The White House announced that Obama will be landing in Seattle late Sunday afternoon, and he will be attending two private fundraisers in the Emerald City Sunday evening.

Obama has seen recent polls from ABC, CBS, NBC, Gallup, Pew and Quinnipac track a steady decline in popularity. In fact, the latest CBS survey indicated that the number of people who viewed the president as "honest and trustworthy" had declined from 60 percent during the close of his 2012 re-election campaign to a more recent number of 49 percent. The president’s approval rating—37 percent in this survey—is the lowest recorded by CBS during Obama's presidency.

Yet Obama has never been more popular with his financial backers. In fact, the president has made 30 separate fundraising trips since April—more than twice the rate of his two-term predecessors—in his bid to help Democrats win in 2014 midterm elections.

The Guardian reports that Obama has clocked more than 20,000 miles on Air Force One to travel to the fundraisers, at an estimated cost to the U.S. taxpayer of more than $6 million. In contrast to Obama's 30 trips, the Guardian says presidents of both parties previously averaged only 13 fundraisers in the equivalent period of their terms. George W. Bush attended just 11 similar events, Bill Clinton managed 18 and Ronald Reagan only 10.