President Barack Obama has set up a new office in the White House to help his Democratic allies avoid a huge defeat in the November polls.
He announced Friday that one of his political aides, David Simas, will take the job of “Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach.”
In practice, the job means that Simas will be the White House’s election chief. He’ll work with cooperating Democratic candidates to schedule fundraisers, allocate campaign funds, arrange presidential visits to districts where candidates want him to visit and help the president showcase candidates.
In the last few months, Simas has been trying to keep the Obamacare program up and running.
Obama showed his growing concern about the Democratic legislators’ chances in a recent interview with The New Yorker.
“I’m fighting for are things they care deeply about, and that I have a genuine commitment to seeing them succeed,” he said.
For years, Democratic legislators have said Obama has kept his distance from them, even when they back his unpopular proposals. Those concerns are rising in the months up to the 2014 election, partly because Obama’s poll ratings have crashed down to the mid-40s amid the failure of his economic, health-care and foreign policies.
“You haven’t seen me, I think, go out of my way to play against Democrats on the Hill. But I’ve tried to be supportive of them in every way that I can,” Obama said defensively.
Generally, low ratings for the president tend to drag down his legislative supporters. Obama’s ratings are so low that Republicans have a decent chance of wining a Senate majority in November, providing the GOP doesn’t split the party by pushing for an unpopular immigration increase.
“If there’s one thing that could blow up GOP chances for a good 2014, it would be an explosive debate over immigration in the House,” said a strategy proposal by William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard.