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Obama's no-fly zones: White House carefully maps campaigner in chief's midterm election strategy

President Obama campaigns for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine during a campaign appearance July 16, 2009 by AP

When President Obama was in Missouri recently, Robin Carnahan left for D.C.

Carnahan is the Democratic candidate for Senate, running in a decidedly purple state (swings between Republican red and Democratic blue). Missouri's secretary of State opted to stick to her official schedule in the nation’s capital rather than appear with the president in her home state.

What's wrong with this picture? Or rather, why didn't she want one?

Turns out candidates all over the country have informed the White House that this would not be the best time for a presidential visit. The unpopularity of Obama's healthcare reform, the anger of "tea party" activists over runaway spending in Washington, the stubborn unemployment numbers that have left millions of Americans still out of work -- all are forcing Team Obama to be strategic about where to send the top of the ticket (not us of course).

Endangered Democrats such as Arkansas' Blanche Lincoln will not be on the tarmac waiting for....

...Air Force One to land anytime soon. In a toxic partisan atmosphere, some Democratic candidates will not want their photograph taken with the president."There are some cases, like Blanche Lincoln, where it's not helpful," said one official.

Elsewhere, candidates are making their own political calculations about the pros and cons of a presidential appearance. Some, such as Carnahan, are conveniently electing to be out of town when he visits, concluding that an Obama embrace might do more harm than good.

Others, such as South Carolina's John Spratt, are risking campaign fallout by accepting rides on Air Force One and getting shout-outs from the president from the podium. And of course others facing tough races, such as California's Barbara Boxer, welcome a visit from Obama, just about anytime.

She might want to reconsider.

Despite Obama's personal popularity among the Democratic base, his appearances have not always helped Democratic candidates cross the finish line. A rousing campaign appearance in New Jersey in July (in the photo above) did not save incumbent Jon Corzine. And no amount of campaigning was destined to save Massachusetts Atty. Gen. Martha Coakley from the phenom of 2009: Republican Scott Brown.

Still, the White House plans to put the president on the road at fundraisers over the summer and campaign stops after Labor Day.

Betcha Carnahan stays away then too.

-- Johanna Neuman

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Photo: Associated Press

 
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Obama showed more of his arrogant contempt for the USA when he forced his healthcare reform through against the wishes of the majority American people. He got it passed with his lies, intimidation, buyouts and sneaky backroom deals with his party members. Therefore, I will pay special attention to demos he campaign for. I will donate money and do whatever I can, to make sure every demo he campaigns for, loses in November.

The president and his car salesman schemes need to be recognized by all americans for a true reform. Who's team is he batting for? Who knows. I will vote for a candidate that wins by honoring his promises, not by promising the world in fancy small print. This is what the country needs for a true change.

Good. He did such a stellar job in NJ, VA and MA. I'm sure Corzine and the others regret asking for his help. The MSM is grossly under reporting the grassroots T.E.A. Party movement's momentum. The first rule in the journalism of Statism is to demonize anything that is a grave threat. I have been to several T.E.A. Party events, including BHOs recent visit to Charlotte. I see blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians and races I don't even know how to describe at these events. We the People are sick and tired. There is now an estimated $430 THOUSAND of debt on the shoulders of every American citizen now. We are in deep trouble.

AN EMPTY SUIT HAS NO COATTAILS.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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