Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, February 6, 2014
At least he recognizes the severity of the situation! President Barack Obama, whose approval rating now sits at just 43 percent nationally, has told some Democratic legislators up for re-election this November that he understands if they prefer him staying on the sidelines as they campaign.
Obama delivered the message in a private session with Senate Democrats Wednesday at Nationals Stadium in Washington, D.C. as part of the president’s attempt to schmooze with Congressional Democrats. Former President Bill Clinton was also present and spoke at the meeting.
“He said he knew he is not popular in some of the states so he would not be offended if he were not invited to visit them this year,” a senator who preferred to stay anonymous told The Washington Post. “But he said he could be helpful in some parts of some states.”
Another source told Reuters that, “He made clear that his agenda, which is focused on expanding opportunity for all, is more likely to advance when the majority of senators support it. So, the president vowed to do what he can to support Democratic candidates in the mid-term elections.”
The president’s decision to make the statement to the upper chamber of Congress is telling, considering that is where the party has the most to lose this November. Several Blue Dog Democrats from deep-red states, including Sens. Max Baucus of Montana and Tim Johnson of South Dakota, are retiring, essentially handing those seats over to the GOP. The party also has to defend several incumbents in Republican states like Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.
A Harper Polling study from August found that Obama had a mere 26 percent approval rating in Arkansas, while a Public Policy Polling study from July had Obama’s approval rating in Alaska at 39 percent.
His decision to go forward with Obamacare’s implementation last month, despite the website glitches and unexpected costs, did not sit well with many of these senators – some of whom publicly pleaded with Obama to delay the implementation of the individual mandate for another year so that everyone who wants to enroll in the heath care exchanges has the opportunity to do so.
Affordable Care Act aside, Obama’s push on many liberal issues, including a minimum wage hike, pushing for fast-track authority on international trade agreements, and limiting coal-fired power plans, have factored into many Democrats’ decision to separately from the White House.
Obama’s decision to stay on the sidelines is in direct contrast with his actions four years ago, when the president actively campaigned for Sens. Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer, among others.