President Obama made a lot of red-state Democrats in difficult Senate battles cringe Thursday when he declared while his name wasn’t on the ballot in 2014, the policies he champions are.
“Now, I’m not on the ballot this fall,” he said. “Michelle’s pretty happy about that. But make no mistake, these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.”
That’s news to Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, although it’s well-established that she and Obama aren’t in sync on just about anything.
“Is the issue in the fall a referendum on President Obama?” David Gregory asked in April on Meet the Press.
“No,” Schultz said. “Absolutely not.”
Obama’s remarks also fly in the face of Democrats attempting to distance themselves in states where Obama is highly unpopular.
Democratic challengers like Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky and Michelle Nunn in Georgia practically try to make voters forget their political party as they campaign.
“I’m not going to get into his job performance,” Nunn told Politico. “My name is on the ballot; the president is not on the ballot this time.”
Grimes actually has an ad where she says flatly, “I’m not Barack Obama.”
“Barack Obama’s not on the ballot,” she said in one TV interview. “I am.”
Rep. Bruce Braley (D., Iowa) said, “President Obama’s name is not on the ballot” during a debate with Republican candidate Joni Ernst. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.), battling for re-election, stated, “People are going to make their decision based on whose name is on the ballot, and President Obama is not on the ballot.”
Sens. Mark Udall (D., Colo.) and Mark Begich (D., Alaska) both said as much to CNN after the State of the Union address in January.
Udall repeatedly dodged Dana Bash’s questions about whether he’d campaign with Obama as he fought for re-election.
“Coloradans are going to re-elect me based on my record, not the president’s record,” Udall said. “I’m running for re-election, not the president.”
Begich said he wanted to Obama to “change some of his policies.”
“This isn’t about the president,” said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake to Fox News. “The president’s not on the ballot.”