President Barack Obama lost white working-class voters in this Rust Belt state during the 2008 Democratic primary, after describing them as bitter people who “cling” to God and guns. He didn’t do much better with them in the general election.
And now, three years into his presidency, Obama is still struggling, despite accomplishments that would seem to appeal to blue-collar workers: guaranteed health care, a crackdown on Wall Street and a rescue of the auto industry.
The stakes couldn’t be higher: If Obama loses a substantial chunk of his white working-class support, he probably can’t carry Pennsylvania.
And without Pennsylvania, he probably won’t win the White House.
So Obama touched down in the heart of Pennsylvania’s blue-collar territory Wednesday to mount what is shaping up to be, at least at this point, another tough sales job to working-class voters here and across the Rust Belt.