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Obama for America stiffing Durham, NH for… $30,000. Wait, WHAT?

You'd think that this would be chump change for them.

The very short version: President Barack Obama is scheduled to make a campaign speech on Monday, in the town of Durham, NH. This will cost the town an estimated sixteen to thirty thousand dollars in additional overtime for cops and fire officials and whatnot. The town is taking the position that while they’d be happy to eat the cost for a Presidential visit, a campaign stop by the President is a different story; the town also claims that they’ve asked previous campaigns to foot the bill for overtime/costs. Obama for America has declined to do this, claiming that the Secret Service wants the extra security in place (this is fast becoming OfA’s favorite excuse for bad visuals); the town is now contemplating symbolically dis-inviting the President.  If passed, then hi-jinks will then presumably ensue.

No, really, that was the really short version.

Let’s break this down into several parts. First, the merits… well, how much merit Durham’s claim has depends on how you look at it, and whether the town really has made a distinction between campaign and official stops. It’s also in some ways the most irrelevant part of the problem facing Obama for America right now… and likely to be the one that they myopically fixate upon, bless their hearts. Because the second problem for the Democrats is how this looks. This isn’t 2008. The country doesn’t feel as rich as it did. Particularly since Obama hit Mitt Romney a couple of weeks ago with a campaign ad accusing Mitt Romney of… not wanting to pay for firemen and cops.

Oops.

Anyway, the point here is that a thirty grand overtime bill is not exactly a hill that you’d expect Obama for America to die on; regardless of the relative merits, the optics are sufficiently poor that it’ll probably cost them more than thirty grand’s worth of headaches. It is, in fact, the sort of thing that campaign money is for; making problems go away that might otherwise stomp on the smooth delivery of a campaign’s message. The Obama campaign really should have just smiled tightly, and paid up. Unless… they’re, you know, feeling the pinch these days. To the point where thirty grand looks as much like real money to them as it does to most of the people reading this article.

Which would be… interesting, no?

Moe Lane (crosspost)

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