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Obama’s Regular Guy Strategy: Kinko’s and Beers

Before his last appearance yesterday on a campaign swing through Ohio, President Obama stopped at a local bar to shake some hands and have a beer. Two, actually—according to the pool report, Obama drank half of a Miller Lite on tap and then switched to Bud Lite in a bottle.

When Obama arrived at his last stop in Parma, he told the crowd: “I had a beer in Amherst, at Ziggy’s, so I’m feeling good.” And in fact, his remarks were much looser and more apt to go off-script than earlier in the day. That’s pretty normal for Obama the candidate, who tends to lose energy in the middle of the day, before getting pumped up for the nighttime crowd. Even so, I can already envision the Fox News panel: “Was Obama Drunk at a Campaign Rally?”

More seriously, Obama’s stump speech was a reminder that for all the advantages of incumbency, it does make it tough to convince voters that you’re just a regular guy when you roll into town with your presidential entourage. Or when you joke about having “a little barbecue in my backyard” on the Fourth of July. “Had a few fireworks.”

So how does the President of the United States get voters to relate to him? In Obama’s case, he uses his stump speech to talk about his very first campaign, when “we printed a bunch of stuff at Kinko’s.”

Like Home Depot, Kinko’s is one of those magic brands that means do-it-yourself in addition to the actual services it provides. He’ll have to do more than that, but he’s already made me try to picture Mitt Romney standing at a self-serve copier with a paper jam.