Obama visit provides political opportunity

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The line for tickets to see President Obama speak at the Lake Harriet Bandshell Friday began forming early Wednesday morning, despite the fact tickets weren't due to be doled out until noon.

A woman handing out vouchers to get those tickets was nearing 100 by 10 a.m.

Apparently the folks in line aren't the only ones excited about the big visit.

Both political parties see opportunity in President Obama's two-day trip to Minnesota that starts Thursday.

For Democrats, the biggest name in their party will draw attention to a signature initiative: the large bump ahead for Minnesota's minimum wage. For Republicans, having Obama's feet on Minnesota soil give them a tangible way to connect targeted Democratic candidates to a struggling president as campaign season intensifies.

Aside from a high-buck fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the trip is comprised more of official business than overtly political events.

But presidential appearances inevitably take on strong political overtones, particularly in an election year.

Obama handily won Minnesota both times he ran, finishing with nearly 53 percent of the vote in 2012. His approval ratings have sagged more recently.


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