Obama hits 50-state mark with visit to South Dakota

  • President Barack Obama (8L), First Lady Michelle Obama (6L), former US President George W. Bush (6R), Laura Bush (7R), and US Representative John Lewis (7L), Democrat of Georgia and one of the original marchers, lead a walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches in Selma, Alabama, March 7, 2015. US President Barack Obama rallied a new generation of Americans to the spirit of the civil rights struggle, warning their march for freedom “is not yet finished.” In a forceful speech in Selma, Alabama on the 50th anniversary of the brutal repression of a peaceful protest, America’s first black president denounced new attempts to restrict voting rights.
  • President Barack Obama greets guests during a rally with US troops and their families at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, Nov. 12, 2009.
  • President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle Obama, and daughters Malia Obama, 11, Sasha Obama, 8, with Interpretive Park Ranger Scott Kraynak look out over Hopi Point as they tour the Grand Canyon in Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz., Aug. 16, 2009.
  • President Barack Obama speaks with residents during a tour of tornado damaged areas May 7, 2014 in Vilonia, Ark.
  • California Governor Jerry Brown (L) and US President Barack Obama (2L) are lead on a tour of Empresas Del Bosque, Inc.’s farm by Joe Del Bosque (2R) and Maria Gloria Del Bosque February 14, 2014 in Los Banos, Calif.
  • US President Barack Obama (left) and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (right) sip their beers at a pub in Denver, Colo., on July 8, 2014.
  • President Barack Obama prays during a vigil held at Newtown High School for families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 16, 2012. 
  • US President Barack Obama (2R) salutes during the dignified transfer of Sergeant Dale R. Griffin of Terre Haute, Indiana, at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Del., Oct. 29, 2009.
  • President Barack Obama, right, is picked-up and lifted off the ground by Scott Van Duzer, left, owner of Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant during an unannounced stop, Sept. 9, 2012, in Ft. Pierce, Fla.
  • President Barack Obama before receiving his honorary doctorate of law degree, after delivering the commencement address during a ceremony at Morehouse College on May 19, 2013 in Atlanta, Ga.
  • President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malia Obama 11, and Sasha Obama, 8, left, look at the animals as they walk through the Honolulu Zoo in Honolulu, Hawaii, Jan. 3, 2010. 
  • President Barack Obama speaks at Boise State University on Jan. 21, 2015, in Boise, Idaho.
  • US President Barack Obama calls a volunteer during an unannounced stop at a local campaign office October 25, 2012 in Chicago, Ill.
  • President Barack Obama, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, checks out the pastries at the Gingerbread House Bakery in downtown Kokomo, Ind., during a visit to tout the city as a success story of the Recovery Act, Nov. 23, 2010. Owners, Lauren Gaines and her husband Matt, left, received a $140,000 loan from the economic stimulus to buy the former doughnut shop.
  • President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall style meeting at the Seed Savers Exchange on August 15, 2011 in Decorah, Iowa. 
  • President Barack Obama speaks about the economy and early childhood education at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., Jan. 22, 2015.
  • In this May 6, 2011 file photo, President Barack Obama greets military personnel prior to addressing troops, May 6, 2011, at Fort Campbell, Ky. 
  • President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk across the street in the Columbia Parc Development in New Orleans, La., Aug. 29, 2010, on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
  • US President Barack Obama with First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia (L) and Sasha (R) tour along a trail on Cadillac Mountain during the first family’s weekend vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine, on July 16, 2010.
  • President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Oct. 30, 2013.
  • President Barack Obama speaks at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall about the federal health care law, Oct. 30, 2013. Faneuil Hall is where former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, Obama’s rival in the 2012 presidential election, signed the state’s landmark health care law in 2006.
  • President Barack Obama (C) hugs an assembly line worker as he tours through the Chrysler Auto Plant in Detroit, Mich., July 30, 2010. 
  • Children from public schools in the town of Chatfield, Minn., help U.S. President Barack Obama get up after he posed with them for a picture, during his bus trip to the Midwest August 15, 2011.
  • President Barack Obama walks along a pier with Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour in Gulfport, Miss., June 14, 2010. 
  • President Barack Obama greets students before the Joplin High School commencement, a day before the anniversary of the twister that killed 161 people, May 21, 2012, in Joplin, Mo.
  • President Barack Obama holds Katirie Duran, age 11 months, from Bozeman, Mont., during a town hall meeting on health care in a hanger at Gallatin Airfield in Belgrade, Mont., Aug. 14, 2009.
  • President Barack Obama greets Air Force members Aug. 13, 2012, after landing at Offutt Air Force base in Bellevue, Neb. 
  • President Barack Obama (C) hugs Astrid Silva (R), an activist mentioned by name by President Obama in his immigration speech last night, as he arrives to deliver remarks on the new steps he will be taking within his executive authority on immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nev., Nov. 21, 2014.
  • President Barack Obama sits down with the Corkery family for breakfast in Julien’s Corner Kitchen in Manchester, N.H., Nov. 22, 2011. 
  • President Barack Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (L) walk on the boardwalk at Point Pleasant in New Jersey, May 28, 2013.
  • US President Barack Obama walks past an oil rig to a stage to speaks at an oil and gas production fields on federal lands March 21, 2012 near Maljamar, New Mexico. 
  • US President Barack Obama looks at a jersey worn by Jackie Robinson, the first African-American baseball player, as he tours the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York on May 22, 2014. 
  • U.S. President Barack Obama greets troops at Fort Bragg in North Carolina on Dec. 14, 2011. 
  • US President Barack Obama (C) and Chairman of the Standing Rock Soiux Tribal Nation David Archambault II (L) talk with young performers during the Cannon Ball Flag Day Celebration in Cannon Ball, North Dakota on June 13, 2014.
  • President Barack Obama (C) stands on stage with rapper Jay-Z and musician Bruce Springsteen (R) at an election campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio, Nov., 5, 2012, on the eve of the U.S. presidential elections.
  • US President Barack Obama tours a tornado affected area on May 26, 2013 in Moore, Okla.
  • US President Barack Obama speaks with US military veterans, including US Navy veteran Thomas Foeller (front center), US Army veteran Dean Dilley (R) and US Air Force veteran Mark Peterson (2nd R) at the Gateway Breakfast House in Portland, Oregon on July 24, 2012. 
  • U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd L) looks at a toy K’nex roller coaster made at the Rodon Group, a manufacturer of toys in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, Nov. 30, 2012. 
  • US President Barack Obama (C) and Gina Raimondo (R) visit with diners at Gregg’s Restaurant and Pub Oct. 31, 2014 in Providence, Rhode Island.
  • President Barack Obama participates in a town-hall meeting at Benedict College, on March 6, 2015, in Columbia, S.C., about the importance of community involvement. 
  • President Barack Obama waves after delivering the commencement address at Lake Area Technical Institute, May 8, 2015 in Watertown, S.D. 
  • U.S. President Barack Obama leans in to comfort a student overcome with emotion upon meeting Obama after he spoke to the graduating class from Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tennessee on their commencement day on May 16, 2011. 
  • U.S. President Barack Obama fist bumps the cashier after paying for his order at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas on July 10, 2014. 
  • U.S. President Barack Obama takes a tour of a solar power array with U.S. Air Force Colonel Ronald Jolly before delivering remarks on clean energy at Hill Air Force Base, Utah on April 3, 2015.
  • President Barack Obama greets the crowd on March 30, 2012, in Burlington, Vt.
  • President Barack Obama, right, and French President Francois Hollande, left, view Thomas Jefferson’s office at during a tour of Monticello, on Feb. 10, 2014, in Charlottesville, Va. 
  • President Barack Obama arrives with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., at a rally to support her re-election campaign held at the University of Washington in Seattle.
  • President Barack Obama speaks at a memorial service for Sen. Robert Byrd, on July 2, 2010, at the Capitol in Charleston, W. Va.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama waves to an estimated crowd of 30,000 at a campaign rally at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisc. on Oct. 4, 2012.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama, and his family visit the Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming on Aug. 15, 2009. 



President Barack Obama joined just three other presidents by hitting a remarkable milestone on Friday.

Obama touched down in South Dakota Friday evening, marking the 50th state the president has traveled to during his two terms in office. The only other presidents to accomplish this feat are Richard Nixon, and two of his more recent predecessors George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Obama is set to deliver the commencement address at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, South Dakota.

Former President George W. Bush nearly accomplished the same feat during his tenure but never made it to Vermont. Meanwhile, ex-President Ronald Reagan came just four states shy of the 50-state milestone. Keep in mind, hitting the 50-mark only became possible in 1959, when Obama’s birthplace of Hawaii became an official U.S. state.

Visiting all 50 states has long been on Obama’s “bucket list,” even if it means venturing into territory that has remained hostile to him during his time in the White House. Although his approval ratings nationwide are heading upward, they were as low as 32% last year, according to Gallup.

South Dakota’s secretary of tourism Jim Hagen recently told New York magazine, “I am absolutely convinced he is saving the best for last. However, Obama will have to make several more visits to the Mount Rushmore state before he can reach the numbers he has hit in states like Virginia (72 visits), Maryland (64 visits) and New York (49). 

If the president’s trips throughout the nation have one thing in common it’s that they’re all photogenic.

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