Barack Obama went to Wisconsin for Labor Day and Mary Burke “the Democrat at the top of the ticket there was nowhere to be seen. Burke is running against incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker but stayed away during Obama’s visit to Milwaukee’s annual LaborFest.
And she’s far from alone. “She became the latest in a parade of Democrats in tight races who have tried to create space between themselves and a President with weak poll numbers”.
Obama’s job approval ratings slipped to 43% in August, while 51% disapproved of his performance, as the upheavals in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine took their toll on the commander-in-chief.
“Some Democrats will very much benefit from not appearing with him,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
From Kay Hagan in North Carolina, to Mark Udall in Colorado and nearly every competitive state in between, Barack Obama has become the president best heard at fund raiser but not seen with a Democrat in a competitive race.
Last week, Obama visited North Carolina, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is fighting a tight reelection race. She met Obama on the tarmac when his plane landed, but, just hours before, had attacked his handling of the scandals at the Department of Veterans Affairs earlier this year.
And in July, Obama travelled to Colorado to speak at a fundraiser for Democratic Sen. Mark Udall — also in a close race for reelection.
But Udall backed out at the last minute, deciding instead to stay in Washington, D.C. and miss his own campaign event.
Other Democrats have been less subtle — Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s campaign began airing TV ads in April calling Obama’s policies, particular when it comes to energy, “simply wrong.”
The White House appears to have taken note.