Now that Barack Obama is persona non grata at rallies for Democratic candidates around the country, those candidates are turning to former president Bill Clinton to help them squeak out tight victories in November.
Clinton made appearances around California on Wednesday, first showing up at Oxnard College with Rep. Julia Brownley, who is running in her Ventura County district against state assemblyman Jeff Gorell. Clinton told a largely Latino crowd that Brownley should be elected, asserting, “We’ve got all our jobs back. Now we can create the future. We must do it with equal opportunity for all.” Brownley gushed that introducing Clinton was “the greatest honor of a lifetime.”
KCRA reports that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the House Majority PAC have spent huge funds for mailers and television ads attacking Gorell. Adam Lotspike, a spokesman for Gorell’s campaign, said of Clinton’s visit, “President Clinton’s visit is one more example of Brownley needing help from outside Ventura County because she has nothing to say on her own behalf.”
Later in the day, Clinton appeared at the University of California, Davis, to campaign for Rep. Ami Bera, who is locked in a tight race with former congressman Doug Ose. Clinton posed as a unifier, declaiming, “This new politics of intense polarization funded by outside money designed to make you think that everybody in public life is some sort of a slug is nuts,” adding that the new politics mean “to get you to voluntarily sit it out.” Others seeking to bask in Clinton’s glory included Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, candidate for state controller Betty Yee, and state Sen. Alex Padilla, running for secretary of state.
$10.5 million in outside spending has been spent on the Bera-Ose race this year. In 2012, Bera won his congressional seat by only two percentage points.
It is no accident that Obama has been a no-show; the Public Policy Institute of California conducted a recent poll showing Obama’s approval rating is 44 percent among likely California voters, the lowest of his presidency. The National Republican Congressional Committee ran its final campaign ad for Ose, showing pictures of Bera with Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Osa issued a statement saying, “Congressman Bera has become part of the problem in today’s polarized Congress. He is a politician who works for Washington — not us.”