President Obama stopped by the campaign headquarters of state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) on Thursday to offer his endorsement of the candidate in person and to provide some motivation to campaign volunteers working the phones. Lieu is running against Republican Elan Carr to replace outgoing 33rd District Rep. Henry Waxman in one of the most true-blue congressional districts in the country.
According to the Washington Post, both Lieu and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Steve Israel were there to greet the President.
“California is right at the heart of the battle for control of the House,” the President reportedly told campaign volunteers. “Because of just the day-to-day work you’re doing, making phone calls, making sure our voters turn out, answering people’s questions about what the issues are, it makes a difference — that’s how I was about to get elected.”
Democrat candidates nationwide have been notoriously hesitant to appear with the President in the run-up to November’s midterm election. This week, the New York Times reported that “Democratic senators in Colorado, North Carolina, and Virginia… do not want him” to appear alongside them.
“Nor does his party’s Senate nominee in Iowa, where Mr. Obama won twice and whose youth-filled 2008 Democratic caucuses vaulted him toward the nomination,” reported the Times.
Yet California’s 33rd congressional district is among the most heavily Democratic in the country. The progressive champion Rep. Henry Waxman has represented the district for the last four decades.
Obama reportedly “mingled” with Lieu campaign volunteers, but reminded callers to stay on task.
“If I’m not directly shaking your hand, you should be on the phone,” Obama told the room, per the Post. “Thank you guys, get back to work.”
The Republican in the race, criminal gang prosecutor and first-time political candidate Elan Carr, has been securing endorsements of his own in recent weeks. Former Republican presidential nominees Mitt Romney and John McCain have come out in support of Carr, as have House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce.