President Obama told a crowded Amazon warehouse in Chattanooga Tuesday that he was glad to be back in Tennessee. He’s made public appearances in the state only a time or two since taking office.
He veered off script during his speech about the economy to concede his lack of popularity in an overwhelmingly Republican state.
“You know, look. I know the politics for Obama aren’t always great in Tennessee,” he said. “I understand that.”
The latest Vanderbilt Poll finds President Obama’s approval rating has sunk to just 40 percent, and he hasn’t come close to winning Tennessee in either of his elections.
“I’ve run my last campaign, so I don’t have to spin it,” Obama said, referring to his plan to create economic growth by raising the minimum wage while also cutting corporate tax rates.
The state’s top Republicans were no-shows for the event. None of them appeared with the President, although Sen. Bob Corker did say in a statement that he “hated for the president to come to my hometown and not accompany him.”
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke – a Democrat – did get a shout-out from the Commander-in-Chief. So did Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville, who the President introduced as “your congressman.”
Chattanooga’s actual congressman is Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, who issued a statement echoing other Tennessee Republicans on the President’s visit.
“There are certainly some tips on creating a pro-growth environment he could gather while in our great state.”