Hagan Stuck Between a Hard Place and Obama

North Carolina Democrat Kay Hagan has a tough decision to make and any chance for re-election to the Senate may hang in the balance. Does she appear with Barack Obama “a critical audience she’s trying to woo: Veterans,” or pass and risk alienating what Obama supporters there are left in North Carolina?

Hagan sought to distance herself anew from the president ahead of his trip, saying the administration “has not yet done enough to earn the lasting trust of our veterans.”

 Obama lost North Carolina in 2012 and is increasingly unpopular, though he continues to poll better among minorities Hagan will need to turn out for a chance of winning her race with Republican Thom Tillis. Hagan was first elected in 2008, a year that saw Obama carry North Carolina. That result was not repeated in 2012 and his approval in the state had continued to decline.

Join in the same camera shot as Obama, who lost North Carolina in 2012 and is unpopular in the state, and Sen. Kay Hagan could offer her Republican opponent fresh attack ad footage tying her to the president. Stay away from Obama while he visits North Carolina on Tuesday, and Hagan risks alienating minority voters who generally support the president.

Either way, Obama is casting a shadow on an event with the potential to boost Hagan’s credibility with veterans and military personnel. The president’s speech is scheduled about an hour before Hagan’s. Even if they don’t appear together publicly, they’ll be in the same building at the same time. Already Monday, GOP candidate Thom Tillis released a statement accusing Hagan of being a “rubber stamp” for the Obama administration.

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