Obama hits 50-state mark with visit to South Dakota
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.