Call it a coincidence, but between White House business and campaign events, President Obama has delivered speeches or campaign remarks that coincided with almost every major Republican presidential election this cycle -- often using the occasions to attack Mitt Romney.
Today -- Super Tuesday in the Republican primary -- Obama chose to hold his first news conference of 2012, an event that guarantees Republicans will not have the media spotlight to themselves for this news cycle. The president took a shot at Romney, almost immediately. "I'm not one of those people who think we should wait and let the housing market hit bottom," he said during his opening remarks, alluding to Romney's advice for how to get the housing market to rebound most quickly.
The president has total control of his schedule for this event, which deprives him of the explanation offered by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney when asked why Obama chose to attack Mitt Romney last week at a United Auto Workers (UAW) event on the same day as the Michigan primary, which had brought the auto bailouts to center stage.
"We had nothing to do with scheduling when the UAW was going to hold its conference," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said when denying that Obama held the event in order to be a counterweight to the Republican primary. "It was probably scheduled at a time long before any of you would have predicted that the Michigan primary was going to be a significant event."
On Feb. 3rd, the day before Romney won the Nevada caucuses, Obama went to the fire station that sent fire fighters to the Pentagon in response to the September 11 terror attacks to give a speech on the economy.
Obama also campaigned on the day of Romney's previous victory in the Florida primary (Jan. 31st), when he made remarks at two campaign fundraisers. He then travelled to Virginia, and Vice President Biden travelled to Michigan, for public events the day after Romney won the Florida race. In the days leading up to the Florida election, Obama also went on a three-day, five-state bus tour of "battleground states."
The president did not hold any official White House events on the day of the South Carolina primary (Jan 21st). Two days before the election, though, Obama revealed that he can carry a tune, as he sang an Al Green song at fundraiser held at the Apollo theater in New York. Obama held two more fundraisers on Jan. 20th and Vice President Biden taped an interview with Ryan Seacrest.
The day before the New Hampshire primary, Obama announced that he would have a new White House chief of staff. On the day of the primary, Vice President Biden held a campaign video teleconference with supporters in the state, even as President Obama had videoconferenced with Iowa supporters on the evening of the Iowa caucuses.
Between the Obama campaign and White House events, the president has created his own media attention at almost every stage of the primary process. Coincidence or not, it's just one of the advantages of incumbency.