Who's missing from battleground states?
President Obama is once again off fundraising this weekend. He flew to New York's Westchester County for a soiree with well heeled Democrats to raise money for the DNC, and then jetted off to Newport, RI for another ritzy gig to benefiot the Democratic Congressional Committee.
But you are unlikely to see the president in Arkansas. Or West Virginia. Or Montana. Or North Carolina. Or anywhere that his presence would drag down Democratic candidates even more than his unpopular policies have done already.
Politico calls it "Obama's campaign no fly zone":
The White House is putting the finishing touches on a post-Labor Day schedule that will send the president to states where he’s still popular, such as: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California, Obama officials and Democratic operatives said this week.
But in the red states that will determine control of the Senate, Obama will remain scarce. That means no personal campaign visits to states like Arkansas, Alaska, Louisiana and North Carolina. He may do some targeted outreach through robocalls, digital ads and conference calls, but the campaign plan is clear: Stay away from candidates he’s already hurting.
Obama’s no-fly zone for certain Senate campaigns reflects the deep concern among Democrats about his drag on the national ticket. Obama can’t seem to get his poll numbers out of the low 40s, he’s struggled through an endless stream of foreign policy crises, and he’s the last person that many candidates want to be forced to defend on the campaign trail.
Six years ago, Obama’s massive campaign organization helped to sweep several Senate Democrats, now the most endangered, into office with his appeal to unite political factions.
Now, he’s an attack line.
Across the country, from Alaska and Colorado, to Louisiana and North Carolina, Republicans are citing how often the Democratic incumbent sided with the White House on votes in Congress. It’s a tactic Democrats used to great effect in 2006 when they wrestled back control of the Senate by linking every incumbent to President George W. Bush, who was even more unpopular than Obama.
“He’s going to be an anchor on each one of these Democrats all the way through,” said Guy Harrison, a media consultant for the Republican Senate nominees in Arkansas, Colorado and North Carolina. “They’re trying to grasp every life preserver they can, but the anchor of Obama is still going to pull them down.”
It's not unusual for an incumbent president to not go where he isn't wanted. But with control of the Senate at stake, where he is needed the most, he is prevented from going because of his standing with voters. This is nearly unprecedented given the circumstances of so many vulnerable Democrats who could use his fundraising help, as well as his presence to energize voters. But any help he may give on those scores would be more than offset by lost votes as pictures of the candidate standing with the president would appear in attack ads by Republicans.
Vulnerable Democrats have so far been successful in forgetting to mention their party affiliation in ads. That won't last through November as people will start to pay attention to the races after Labor Day.