Billed as part of first lady Michelle Obama's “Joining Forces” initiative for military families -- and perhaps as a way to woo average American voters -- Mrs. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden's wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will serve as Grand Marshals of the November 20 season-ending NASCAR Ford 400.
According to the following White House statement, NASCAR will participate in the Joining Forces initiative:
As part of the season-ending NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship race, NASCAR will rally its millions of fans at the speedway and online to serve military families through the holiday season by asking them to visit www.NASCAR.com/Unites and JoiningForces.gov to find service opportunities and ideas to give back to those who serve our country.
The White House says some 5,000 active duty and retired military personnel will attend the event. Military families are then invited to a barbecue where Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden are slated to speak alongside NASCAR officials and drivers.
White House Dossier adds:
Mrs. Obama, who has incurred some bad publicity for taking luxurious jaunts to South Africa and Spain while often being photographed in expensive clothing and accoutrements, has lately been spotted shopping at Target and hanging out at the baseball park, attending the first game of the World Series.
The Ford 400 is held at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Florida is perhaps the most critical presidential battleground state in the country.
But Mrs. Obama’s presence at one of the biggest NASCAR events of the year will surely be noticed throughout the region where the sport if popular, which includes many other critical swing states like Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Missouri and Missouri.
Indeed, since Mrs. Obama has been making the rounds at the local Target store, critics might argue that the campaign to appear "ordinary" and engage Americans in "fly-over country," thereby securing their vote for 2012, seems to be well under way.