White House staffers guard the president's time very carefully, and it is a sign of genuine concern that the White House is sending the president to Massachusetts.
Beyond this one visit, the presidential calendar is often a useful tool for sensing the tide of an election. There are 37 Senate seats up before the voters in November. Eleven are seats without current incumbents running. The Democrat retirees are largely from blue states, while the Republican retirees are mainly from swing states, and so in a normal year the Democrats would be on offense. If President Obama is playing defense this fall, visiting Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, and North Dakota — homes of retiring or transitioning Democratic senators — rather than Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Ohio — where the Republican retirees are from — then that's a sure sign of trouble for the Democrats ahead.