For nearly a century, Alaska has served as mainly a toe-touch state for presidents. Next week, President Obama will change all that.
Obama departs Aug. 31 for what will soon be the most extensive Alaska tour in history by a sitting American president. While one other sitting American president has spent more time in Alaska -- Warren G. Harding -- Obama will travel further by journeying further north while also touching southern parts of the state. (Having government planes and helicopters at one's disposal -- something Harding lacked -- helps.)
In addition to traveling to Anchorage for a State Department-sponsored meeting of Arctic Council policymakers, he will fly over glaciers near Seward, in the southcentral part of the state; visit with fishing operators in Dillingham, on the southwest's Bristol Bay; and meet with residents in Kotzebue, 26 miles north of the Arctic Circle.