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Almost all Democratic Senate candidates would welcome Obama

By Aaron Blake

Is the Obama-as-albatross meme oversold?

As the president campaigns Thursday with Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Missouri Senate candidate Robin Carnahan (D), his value as campaigner-in-chief heading into the 2010 election remains a hot topic. But nearly all major Democratic Senate candidates say they are willing to take the good with the bad and stand alongside the president in their home states. And many of them are prepared to embrace him.

In a survey of 20 top Democratic candidates by The Fix, not one said he or she wouldn't welcome a joint appearance with the president, though some qualified their answers a bit.

Republicans have been quick to point out that candidates like Carnahan and Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher made little effort to appear alongside the president during his previous visits to their states. But in the past few weeks, Fisher has appeared with Obama at a stimulus rally and raised money with Vice President Biden, and the Missouri secretary of state is welcoming the president Thursday to raise money for her Senate campaign - her second appearance with him this year.

While the campaigns of Carnahan, Fisher and candidates like Reps. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) and Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) have been happy to hitch their wagons to Obama, it's bit tougher for candidates in red states like Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky and Louisiana.

Still, even in Indiana, Rep. Brad Ellsworth's (D-Ind.) campaign said he would welcome the "opportunity to show-off the great people and businesses of this state."

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway's campaigns offered qualified answers when asked whether they would welcome Obama, and Rep. Charlie Melancon's (D-La.) campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

"President Obama did not campaign in Arkansas during his own race in 2008," reminded Lincoln spokeswoman Katie Laning Niebaum, "but Sen. Lincoln has let him know that he is always welcome in Arkansas."

While Arkansas is one of Obama's worst states, Kentucky isn't much better. Conway's campaign said it would welcome the president, but it also said it would use the occasion to express some concerns about his policies.

"Jack would take the opportunity to talk to the President about the concerns of Kentuckians including job creation, the deficit and why cap and trade legislation would hurt Kentucky's economy and should not be pursued by the administration," Conway spokeswoman Allison Haley said.

Conway's approach seems to be the name of the game - acknowledge Obama's role in the 2010 campaign but talk about your independence in order to inoculate yourself.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said in February the president "may not want to come here" and emphasized his independence. But his campaign told The Fix this week that he would be "honored" to have the president visit.

Carnahan, similarly, had been reticent to embrace Obama's health care plan but still welcomed him to town for his fundraising help.

Obama has so far campaigned for Reid, Carnahan, and Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). He has also appeared in the states with Fisher, Meek, Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) and Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. Still awaiting visits are Sestak, Blumenthal, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Delaware Senate candidate Chris Coons.

In Pennsylvania, the president campaigned with Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) during the primary, but Specter lost to Sestak. Despite criticizing Obama in the primary, Sestak has said he hopes to be the president's biggest ally in the Senate.

Giannoulias said last week that he thinks the president will campaign with him. There, it's more a matter of whether the president will make the appearance; Giannoulias has some baggage, but Obama could be a big help in his home state.

It's hard to see candidates like Conway, Ellsworth, Lincoln and Melancon actively seeking the president's help. He could probably get by in Indiana, which he won narrowly in 2008, but he's pretty unpopular in all four states now.

Obama's overall approval is around the mid-to-high 40s nationwide - a range that applies in most of the states holding top Senate contests. That's pretty consistent for someone who is supported by basically everyone on the left and opposed by basically everyone on the right.

Democrats remain competitive on the generic congressional ballot (generic Democrat vs. generic Republican), and even the health care bill is looking like less and less of a liability.

Still, with all of their pickup opportunities, even a slightly tilted playing field could pay dividends for Republicans. A Gallup poll this week showed just 38 percent of independents approve of Obama. If that number inches lower, it could be cause for concern among candidates all over the Senate map.

If those numbers hold, though, do candidates really have much to be ashamed of when it comes to their president? Or is this mostly just a way for the GOP to fire up their donor and activist bases?

By Aaron Blake  |  July 8, 2010; 3:04 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party , Senate  | Tags: carnahan, obama, reid  
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Comments

Good Gosh. All these conservatives make me sick. They all take the "I got mine, screw you" approach, or is it "every man for himself" . They disgust me. Their heroes had their chance and totally blew it. What options do they offer. Tax credits? You idiots, your party left people with no jobs. Tax credits with no jobs? Duh, you imbeciles. Sometimes I just wish I had 5 minutes in a room with you dunces.

Posted by: namedroper | July 11, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

"Almost all Democratic Senate candidates would welcome Obama".

They have to! They are good little Obamatons and they have been programmed to fall at the feet of "The One".

They rose with Obama and they will fall with Obama.

Some kind of suicide pact, it seems.

Posted by: battleground51 | July 9, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse


This is wonderful news. Best I have heard in a long time from this Administration.

I hope he helps them all as much as he helped Gov. Corzine here in New Jersey. I, for one, am very grateful that he came here multiple times to help Corzine.

Could someone make sure that O schedules multiple visits to San Francisco as well?

Posted by: letscheck | July 9, 2010 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Of course they'd say they welcome Obama, but whenever Obama shows up for a candidate, that candidate loses.

What's the opposite of the Midas touch? I guess he has the Sidam Touch.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | July 9, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: itkonlyyou53 | July 8, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Is there really any issue here? A basically smart guy trying to wrestle down some really big problems or the same blithering idiots who got us here? Your choice.

Posted by: CopyKinetics | July 8, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Is there really any issue here? A basically smart guy trying to wrestle down some really big problems or the same blithering idiots who got us here? Your choice.

Posted by: CopyKinetics | July 8, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Sure they do. You Leftist water carriers at the Compost never give up, do you?

Posted by: wewintheylose | July 8, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

"Libs are still completely clueless it seems. Even after hitting the iceberg, the Captain of the titanic socialist ship of state says steam ahead. all but the loons see that it is foundering."

This may be an important development.
It is practically coherent, sure, entirely illiterate, but it is not psychotic.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 8, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse


ceflynline is my HERO!

Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 8, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Yes Mr. president campaign for the "Box" here in California!
Love to see the vinegar puss have to give a concession speech in the Fall after the One has "helped" her wilting campaign.
What is Obama? 1 for 4? Or is it 0 for 4?

Posted by: sperrico | July 8, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans have been quick to point out that candidates like Carnahan and Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher made little effort to appear alongside the president during his previous visits to their states. "

Well, duh!, That would have been trying to split the party by getting the Prez to side with one Dem or the other. Bad blood when we don't need it.

Note that In Virginia, the Dem Who New Better paid for his unwillingness to ask help from the president.

But the Republican Resurgence template has to be used. So here it goes again.

I think the Dems hold most of their seats and pick up more R seats that they lose D seats. The Dems plus Lieberman and Crist caucus 64 Senators in January.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 8, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I took what was almost certasinly a real political poll today, this one by the Ray Bliss (Boo, big Bad Republican) Center at Akron University. It asked me my opinion oc Congress, among other things. I had to check mi disapproval. Since it didn't ask me WHY I didn't like Congress, it goes down as part of the low opinion of Congress category. Had they asked me why, I could have responded that there are way too many Republicans doing way to much obstructionism.

Obama can go out on the trail and say, I Tried to be nice and the republicans tried to murder me. So IF YOU WANT MORE JOBS AND A BETTER ECONOMY, vote for my friend (insert name) and give me a congress I can work with. He can call all the kids who didn't vote out and say, you want jobs, vote for me, because the republicans don't care about your jobs, they care about Bankers and how to give them big bonuses they don't have to pay taxes on.

Because there are two components to Obama's unpopularity, and one of those components can probably be kept from voting Republican.

So, Yeah!, Candidates really do want Obama to come campaign for them. Then they can channel the REAL national anger, that the republicans don't want to do anything about the economy themselves and won't let anyone else do it either.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 8, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

The democrats should run from Obama - let's be serious folks.

What these candidate really mean is this:


We are happy to bring in Obama under cover of darkness for fundraisers - taking money from our base.

However, we do not want to be seen in the press with Obama - and Obama should leave our State by midnight.

That is about the story.

.

Posted by: FlowersOfPeace | July 8, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Gee, the headline doesn't quite match what's written in the body of the article, does it?

Posted by: chatard | July 8, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

"Or is this mostly just a way for the GOP to fire up their donor and activist bases?"

Huh? What? What is "this" referring to?

Posted by: DDAWD | July 8, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

What's a generic Democrat and what's a generic Republican?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 8, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

A Boston judge has overturned the 1996 "Defense of Marriage Act" on the grounds that it removes from states the right to define marriage as they see fit.

This should rile up the rubes. Expect more vagrants bribed with T-bird in tricorn hats with dangling teabags coming to a park near you.

Let the games begin.

Posted by: Noacoler | July 8, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

realist is going to be very sad in novembr.

Posted by: drindl | July 8, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Obama is death to every candidate he tries to help - Deeds, Corzine, Coakley, and ona nd aon - any Dem inviting Obama to campaign will definitely lose.

Posted by: Realist201 | July 8, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"Or is this mostly just a way for the GOP to fire up their donor and activist bases?"

Gee aaron, you're a whiz kid!

Posted by: drindl | July 8, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

No wonder the Libs are going to lose if they really think that and aren't just saying it. the latest:

Democracy Corps, a polling firm run by Democratic operatives James Carville and Stanley Greenberg, put out its latest findings today, and they should have party leaders reaching for the antacids. The news is almost uniformly bad for Democrats just four months ahead of the next election.

The poll put Obama’s job approval at just 45%, with 51% disapproving. His handling of the economy (45%-51%) and the oil spill (43%-50%) were also viewed negatively. By 49%-45% most people believe his policies are making the recession worse, not better. That margin is particularly strong among independents, 52%-38%.


The poll gave Republicans a 48%-42% advantage in the generic congressional ballot. It found Democrats trailing Republicans on key economic issues including jobs (42%-38%), the overall economy (44%-39%) and the deficit (43%-30%). A majority (50%-43%) also favors tax cuts over “more investment,” i.e., more federal spending.

Libs are still completely clueless it seems. Even after hitting the iceberg, the Captain of the titanic socialist ship of state says steam ahead. all but the loons see that it is foundering.

Posted by: present-and-unaccounted-for | July 8, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"Is the Obama-as-albatross meme oversold?"

==

Aside from right-wing agitprop sites like this blog, who's trying to sell it?

Corzine lost ... NJ going through buyer's remorse.

McDonnell won .. Virginia regrets it, and his stealth approach won't work in other races of national import now.

Brown won in MA .. not the golden boy the baggers were hoping for.

Crist has a solid lead over bagger Rubio, embrace photo notwithstanding.

Obama will speak to cheering crowds wherever he goes.

Oversold? Who's buying?

Posted by: Noacoler | July 8, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

The reality is that all patriotic Americans would love to have our President visit our cities and states.

It's only those who hate America and our Middle Class who have a problem with him.

Posted by: WillSeattle | July 8, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

How did that campaigning work out for you libs in
NJ, VA, PA, FL, MA?

No fact or reality is going to intrude on berry's socialist view for us.

full steam ahead good ship of state titanic.


Obama was an embarrassment at the G20. Everyone else has realized their error and is proposing deficit reduction. Chairman Zero wants to double down on spending, failure, job losses and economic quagmire.

follow us, fellow lemmings, right over the cliff.

Posted by: present-and-unaccounted-for | July 8, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

ASK Charlie Crist - he is a democratic Senate candidate.


.

Posted by: FlowersOfPeace | July 8, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

the deaf lib pols might respond that way on the phone, but the reality is that they duck this anchor whenever he comes to town.

Here's why, from the honest DC paper:

Poll: Obama turns off independent voters
By: David Freddoso

Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm with a decent track record this year, has raised the question of whether an endorsement by President Obama will help or hurt Democratic candidates in a number of states.

The answer: ouch.

[I]t’s looking more and more clear that there’s just about nowhere Democratic candidates would benefit from having the President come to campaign with them.

In Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin an Obama endorsement comes down as a net negative impact on the chances of a voter supporting a candidate by anywhere from 14 to 33 points. There are two reasons for that. First, Republicans respond more negatively to Obama than Democrats do positively.

Second, independents are completely unimpressed by an Obama endorsement. In Ohio 6% say they’re more likely to support an Obama endorsed candidate while 57% say they’re less likely to. In Wisconsin it’s a 6/51 spread. In Pennsylvania it’s 10/56. In Illinois it’s 15/39 and in Louisiana it’s 16/49.

We’re always hearing about how the Tea Partiers and conservative candidates are supposedly going to alienate independent voters, but we haven’t seen that happen yet. The real story seems to be that President Obama is alienating them already, and by a pretty wide margin.

Posted by: present-and-unaccounted-for | July 8, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

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