Second-Term Presidential Travel: The Impermanent Campaign and the Rise of Legacy-Building, 1957-2009
24 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2012 Last revised: 28 Aug 2012
Date Written: 2012
This paper analyzes second term presidential travel from Presidents Eisenhower, Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush. In our prior research, we examined travel undertaken by these presidents during their first terms, and of other full first-term presidents who ran for reelection within this overall timeframe (Nixon, Carter, George H.W. Bush), observing a tendency among first-term presidents to travel to larger, more competitive states more often than smaller less-competitive states – with this trend becoming increasingly pronounced in later administrations. In this paper, we utilize the same model, but apply it to second term travel. In addition, we incorporate international travel so as to capture the entire scope of the “public presidency” during a president’s second term. As we demonstrate, second term presidents make fewer domestic trips, and do so in a less strategic manner than first termers. In addition, it appears that presidents prefer to travel abroad in their final years in office. Rather than an electorally motivated strategy, we suggest that the goal underlying second term presidential travel appears to be legacy building.
Keywords: presidential travel
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