Barack Obama on the campaign trail

I flew into New York’s JFK Airport yesterday evening, just as President Obama was leaving.

He had been electioneering in the city, where he delivered the commencement address at Barnard College, a women-only liberal arts college affiliated to Columbia University. According to a report in the New York Times, Obama was shifting the focus from his recent endorsement of same-sex marriage to what he portrayed as a “lifelong belief in the essential role of women”. A NYT / CBS News poll has suggested most people (Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed) think Mr. Obama’s unexpected commitment to same-sex marriage had been made “mostly for political reasons,” while 24 percent said it was “mostly because he thinks it is right.” The Obama campaign wants to pin Mitt Romney on the socially conservative ground he was forced to fight for in order to win the Republican nomination. Since Obama’s endorsement, Romney has re-iterated his opposition to same-sex marriage.

The sight of Air Force One, parked in a corner of JFK, and – as my taxi left the airport and joined the slow traffic heading for Manhattan – Marine One circling over the airport escorted by two US Marine Chinooks, was a reminder of the sheer muscle available to the incumbent President.

Politics & Government