President Obama is scheduled to deliver a speech today at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh that he hopes will discuss the economic state of the nation. Prior to his arrival at Pittsburgh International Airport with Arlen Spector, he invited most of the local Democratic political officials to meet them and travel with them to Oakland, where the university is located. According to an article today in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Obama is having a difficult time getting local officials to receive him.

Unfortunately and coincidentally, it appears that virtually all of the invited politicians were unable to meet and greet the president. Congressman Jason Altmire, who represents a district in the North Hills, and whose district was won by John McCain in the 2008 presidential race will be in Midland, PA to discuss funding he has procured for a charter school there. Likewise, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato will also be unable to attend as he is ‘campaigning’ in Philadelphia. Geography’s never been my strong suit, but at least when I lived in the Pittsburgh area, Philadelphia was in a slightly different section of the state.

Senator Bob Casey is celebrating his anniversary and is on a trip with his wife. Representative Mike Doyle was apparently unable to come up with his own excuse. so he used the same one as Casey. The Tribune-Review article wasn’t real clear, but I’m assuming they did not go to the same vacation locale.

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl was unable to come up with something better to do, so he will meet Spector and Obama at the airport and travel with them to CMU.

It should be noted that Obama currently has a 42% approval rating in Pennsylvania, and a 43% approval in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. In the last year, the nation’s unemployment rate has risen from 8.9% to 9.9%.

Pennsylvania politically has always been a strange state. It was referred to a while back as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, surrounded by Alabama. As well, readers may recall that during the Pennsylvania primary campaign, Obama made one of the few pratfalls of his year-long campaign. While in San Francisco (a lovely area, btw), he addressed a group of liberal contributors. When asked why he wasn’t doing well in polling of Pennsylvania against Hillary Clinton, he responded that in small towns in Pennsylvania and the Midwest, jobs have been gone for 25 years and no jobs have replaced them. So, they got bitter and cling to guns and religion and have developed an antipathy for immigrants or people who aren’t like them. I don’t recall the exact quote, but believe I got the gist of it sort of right.