Chief Official White House Photographer, Pete Souza, captured a moment of the President in each state creating a beautiful photo journal of the President's US travels in one album. Behind the Lens, Photographing the President in All Fifty States. Pete is now an honorary All 50 Club member too since he traveled to every state with the President with camera in hand.
Other Presidential All Fifty Club Members
President Obama is the fourth president to achieve this accomplishment after President Richard Nixon, President H.W. Bush, and President Bill Clinton. President George W. Bush visited 39 states in his first year as president but never got to Vermont making his total states 49. President H.W. Bush is still the only President to have visited all 50 in one term of office.
Already a 50 Stater?
President Obama was actually already an all 50 stater. After extensive traveling during his presidential campaign he visited his final state, Alaska, in November 2009. He told military personnel at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, "I have to tell you I'm also excited because I had up until today visited 49 states. So this is officially my 50th state." Many of the news reports did not report that his recent achievement was visiting all 50 as President. It is unknown how many states he had been to prior to his presidential campaign.
One of President Obama's most widely spread misstatements was his comment that he had visited "57 states." His quote was "... it is just wonderful to be back in Oregon, and over the last 15 months we've traveled to every corner of the United States. I've now been in fifty .... seven states? I think one left to go. One left to go. Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit but my staff would not justify it.". It appears that he had meant to say 47 states since at the time of the speech he had only lacked one state from having been to all 48 contiguous states and had no plans to go to Alaska or Hawaii to campaign at that time.
Did he really visit all 50?
A political writer, Eric Golub, challenged President Obama's claim that he had been to all fifty because in some states he did not leave the airport. The All Fifty Club has long had the guideline that to count a state one must touch the ground and breathe the air of that state. This generally means that airport layovers do not count. However, President Obama's case is a little different, because although he did not leave the airport facility, he did set foot on the ground and did breathe the air by exiting Air Force One. The two states in question were Nebraska and Alaska. In Nebraska he was only in the state for a brief period of time when he landed at Offutt Air Force Base then traveled by vehicle and crossed the state line into Iowa. Alaska was a refueling stop on his way to Japan but he exited the plane and gave a speech to military personnel at Elmendorf Air Force Base before taking off again. These were short stops, but technically met the criteria as going there as President. Our hope is he and his family can visit all 50 again, making more of a visit in each state.
President Obama has also achieved the Travel Goal Getter Troika. Along with visiting all fifty states, he has visited 6 continents qualifying for the Continent Club and 50 countries achieving the Gold Level of the Traveler's Country Club.
photos from whitehouse.gov