Watch CBSN Live

Obama Explains Election Hopscotch


From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

WASHINGTON -- On the day of the West Virginia primary, Barack Obama is nowhere near the state. He's spending his morning here voting on a Senate flood insurance bill and is expected to attend a caucus luncheon. He then flies to Missouri, where he will host a small town hall meeting and then heads to Michigan.

His strategy today is leaving some pundits scratching their heads, especially since Obama has not yet nabbed the Democratic nomination. According to Obama and his campaign, however, this all makes sense.

"During the course of a campaign you end up having this hopscotch that you have to do and all of us have to make decisions about where we're going to go," Obama told reporters yesterday. "We've got Oregon coming up. We've got Kentucky coming up. Montana, South Dakota and so there's some stops that we made a decision to make."

Despite this hopscotch strategy, Obama is clearly bracing for a loss in West Virginia today. His campaign has all but conceded that Hillary Clinton will win big in the state, but they are quick to note that he won in neighboring Virginia by 29 points. Obama explained that Clinton spent more time in West Virginia because she anticipates winning the state. "They've put more emphasis on West Virginia," he said. "Part of it probably has to do with where you anticipate where you're going to do best."

Going forward, the Obama campaign is going to be playing a balancing act between upcoming primary contests and general election states. He has scheduled stops in Oregon and South Dakota, as well as Missouri, Michigan, and Florida.