- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 7, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Rev up Air Force One. President Obama journeys to Oregon on Thursday for two reasons. First he’ll attend a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at a hotel in Portland to support the organization’s 2016 White House Victory Fund — tickets up to $10,000 each. Then it’s on to Nike headquarters in Beaverton on Friday to talk up “progressive, high-standards trade agreements that would open up new markets and support high-quality jobs for businesses large and small,” according to the White House.

Some question the logic of the visit.

“Nike made $12.4 billion in profits last year, thanks in large part to 1 million subcontracted workers at factories primarily in low-wage countries in Asia. For years, the company has faced allegations that a number of those factories use sweatshop conditions and illegally low wages to produce sneakers and clothes that Nike then sells in much wealthier countries,” writes National Journal’s White House correspondent S.V. Date

“According to a 2014 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the only things Nike manufactures in the United States are ‘Air-Sole’ cushion components and ‘small amounts’ of other plastic products it sells to other manufacturers,” he notes.

The locals are bracing for the visit.

“Get ready for Obama Jam 2015. President Obama’s visits to Portland in recent years have created epic traffic jam,” Joseph Rose, a columnist for The Oregonian, warned his readers. “Obama’s trip to the Portland area this Thursday and Friday could wind up creating not just one but two days of nightmarish gridlock for commuters.”

But wait, there’s more. Mr. Obama also pays his very first visit to South Dakota on Friday, the featured speaker at commencement ceremonies for the Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown. While some of the residents wonder why no  president has visited the state in 13 years, one South Dakota Republican has a civilized rationale.

“We’re glad he’s coming. I tell people he’s saving the best for last,” said Sen. John Thune.


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