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Obama: Why AR and KY shouldn't be surprising

“Uncommitted” in Kentucky and an opponent in Arkansas got about 40% of the vote in the Democratic primaries last night against President Obama. This comes a week after West Virginia Democrats gave about 40% of the vote to a man who was a convicted felon serving time in prison in another state. The Republican National Committee is doing a social media push today with new “Fired up! Ready to go! Uncommitted” buttons.

But none of this should be all that surprising. Obama struggled in the Democratic primaries in 2008 in Appalachia, and it was his worst area of the country in the general election.

“How often I heard it said, ‘Nobody likes change but a baby with a dirty diaper,’” William Turner, chairman of Appalachian Studies at Berea College, told West Virginia public radio in 2008 after Obama’s loss to Hillary Clinton in the primary. “So this kind of change is maybe just a little too much for people to absorb.”

Turner, who grew up in Harlan County, Kentucky, added, “I don’t think Barack could have in the short time he had change these long-standing stereotypes of black people or Appalachia. So what we need is just more education, more interaction, people getting to know each other better. And if he did nothing else but held up a mirror so we see ourselves better than we did last week, that’s good that he did that.”

The piece interviewed several people who invoked Obama’s race and suspicions about his religion for not being open to voting for him, and one man who voted for Clinton couldn’t even recall her name.

The Washington Post editorial page says Obama is trying to have it “both ways on private equity” and thinks his “vampire” ad goes too far: “What we’re left with is a president who seems content to present an even-handed view of private equity at his news conferences while propounding a much more tendentious one in his campaign advertising. Pointing out that a business career hasn’t fully prepared Mr. Romney to be president, in other words, is a long way from suggesting that he’s a vampire.”

Bloomberg: “From extra shifts at auto and steel plants in Ohio to office buildings rising in Northern Virginia, the geography of the U.S. economic rebound is providing an edge to President Barack Obama’s re-election. The unemployment rates in a majority of the 2012 battleground states are lower than the national average as those economies improve.”

Of course, as’s Michael O’Brien wrote earlier this month, the recoveries in those states have been uneven.

The Boston Globe’s Johnson: Vice President Joe Biden today laced into the Republican Party and its presumptive presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, saying its Tea Party faction had blocked progress by President Obama while Romney wants to take the country back to recessionary practices.