At a time when being seen as too close to President Barack Obama is a political liability, Democratic candidates are rushing to distance themselves from the man. But two things are standing in their way – their voting records and the president himself.
The president this week told Al Sharpton:
“We’ve got a tough map. A lot of the states that are contested this time are states that I didn’t win” in the 2012 election. “So some of the candidates there, you know, it is difficult for them to have me in the state because the Republicans will use that to try to fan Republican turn-out. The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me. They have supported my agenda in Congress.”
With his approval rating hovering in the high 30s, Obama is a liability — and he knows it. But he loves politics, and he still wants to be involved in the election. So while Democrats across the country attempt to distance themselves from him and his agenda, he drapes himself all over them.
As candidates across the country dodge the question of whether or not they voted for him, that option doesn’t exist for incumbent Democrats. They have a record.
One candidate with such a record is Senator Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire. She’s running for reelection against Scott Brown, the former Senator from Massachusetts, and polls show it is very close.
The issue of Shaheen’s support for the president’s agenda, voting with him 99 percent of the time, came up at their debate tonight. Shaheen’s answer drew laughter from the crowd.
Asked to imagine herself answering a pollster’s question of “Do you approve of the job President Obama is doing?” The questioner continued, “there will be a chance to follow up, but this is a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.”
Shaheen replied, “In some ways I approve, and some things I don’t approve.” The crowd burst into laughter.
“So, you know, like most question that we deal with as policymakers,” she continued, “there aren’t simple answers, um, ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”