The Obama campaign-trail calculus

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LAS VEGAS — President Barack Obama’s Thursday itinerary provided a glimpse into how he’ll be used on the campaign trail this fall: four fundraisers, one rally and two states where the president was called on to deliver distinctly different things.

In Nevada and Missouri, home to two of the nation’s marquee Senate races, Obama’s strengths and drawbacks as president and Democratic Party leader were on full display. In a state where the president won easily in 2008, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid embraced Obama and counted on the force of his personality to energize the Democratic base in Nevada. In Missouri, a state Obama lost narrowly and where his approval ratings haven’t gotten any better, Democrat Robin Carnahan concluded that an incumbent president’s unmatched ability to raise huge sums of money outweighed the political costs of associating with him.

Increasingly, that’s a calculation that Democrats all over the political map will have to make as Obama struggles with some of his lowest poll ratings in 18 months in office.

Full Story: The Obama campaign-trail calculus – Carol E. Lee and David Catanese – POLITICO.com