MIDTERM COUNTDOWN

Where to Deploy Obama?

Even the President of the United States cannot be in multiple places at once. And to his staff and Democratic strategists, that is a difficult reality to handle—especially when it comes to the midterm elections. So over the last couple of months, they have had to carefully manage his appearances on the campaign trail, always mindful that he could not be seen to simply be rescuing allies in trouble or trying to expand his own field. It resulted in a fairly cautious itinerary, based largely on polling data and timing. "We picked places where the path to victory depends largely on closing the enthusiasm gap," one senior administration official said. Another added: "We looked at the tracking polls and matched it with our ability to move the needle." Now his team has to decide where the President can be most useful in the final 72 hours of campaigns. And it seems that he will loop around a corner of Eastern swing states, all in time to be back in Washington Sunday night to take his daughters trick-or-treating—that was another factor to consider.