President Barack Obama is traveling to the Republican stronghold of Texas Tuesday to promote his policies, raise funds and experience a country music performance.
Obama is coming to Austin to raise money for his re-election campaign and will be joined by singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker at Austin Music Hall. Tuesday’s event is expected to be one of his last campaign stops in Austin this campaign cycle.
The campaign is selling tickets for around $250 for the Austin Music Hall fundraiser, a relatively lower price compared to a previous event at Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater where tickets sold for at least $1000.
Government professor Daron Shaw said the Obama campaign has been engaged in narrowcasting, or targeting a narrow audience, to promote highly tested and localized messages.
“Because there are young people and students in Austin, it is very likely he will emphasize issues that have a particular appeal to those populations,” Shaw said.
The President has made education a central part of his platform during his term. He implemented student loan reform as well as working to make college more affordable by doubling funding for Pell Grants. The student loan reform, starting in 2014, will allow new borrowers to pay no more than 10 percent of their disposable income. This law also allows remaining debt to be forgiven after 20 years and after 10 years for those engaged in public-service professions. Since 2008, Obama has increased the number of Pell Grant recipients from 6 million to 9 million by eliminating the middlemen banks from the college-loan program.
Andy Hogue, spokesperson for the Travis County Republican Party, said it won’t do Obama much good to campaign for votes in a state as Republican as Texas. He predicts Obama will mainly speak about same-sex marriage and health care.
“He is appearing at a fundraiser hosted by a local gay rights organization,” Hogue said. “It’s quite ironic that Mr. Obama’s campaign will prosper from having come to a part of the country that is so opposed to his agenda. If Texas had followed in his footsteps, we wouldn’t have as much money to give.”
The Travis County Democratic Party is looking forward to Obama’s visit. Chairman Andy Brown said he wants Obama to continue talking about the accomplishments he has made.
“Obama comes at a perfect time to inspire volunteers to start working on the fall campaign,” Brown said. “I want him to highlight his policies versus the policies of Mitt Romney.”
The presidential visit will cause nine bus routes to be detoured from around 1 p.m. to approximately 8 p.m. The major corridors, Barton Springs Road, Riverside Drive, Congress Avenue, Lamar Boulevard and 5th Street will not be affected. Signs will be posted at each of the affected stops to provide alternate routes, according to Capital Metro.