Via Chris Stirewalt at Fox News:
“Well, you know, the truth of the matter is that as President of the United States, I’ve got a lot of responsibilities. I was supportive of Tom and have been supportive of Tom. Obviously, you know, I would have loved to have seen a different result.”
— President Obama in an interview with WBAY, the ABC affiliate in Green Bay, Wis., explaining why he didn’t campaign for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Democratic candidate in last week’s Wisconsin recall election.
Today is a pretty typical day for President Obama: four fundraisers, a visit to a swing state and then a late arrival back at the White House.
The rest of the week looks to be pretty much the same, with a Thursday campaign speech in Ohio and some more fundraising already on the schedule.
The president is always the president, and Obama may be spending his transit time updating his kill list or haggling with his European counterparts about the next round of bailouts. But there never has been a president who, to the public eye, was more consumed so early in the year with his re-election effort.
The blitz of fundraisers and swing-state visits started nine months ago and has continued unabated. This makes his defense of his decision to shun Tom Barrett, the Democratic nominee in the Wisconsin recall vote last week, even more curious.
“I’ve got a lot of responsibilities,” Obama said in answer to a question from a reporter from Green Bay, one of a handful of swing-state journalists granted four-minute, stopwatch-timed interviews with Obama on Monday.
Those responsibilities apparently include dinners with Sarah Jessica Parker and Wall Street tycoons, but not a trip to Waukesha to help out Barrett.
What the President doesn’t want to tell anyone is the truth (not exactly a surprise for this truth-challenged administration): That it’s highly unlikely his appearance in Wisconsin in support of Mayor Barrett would have made much, if any, of a difference. I suspect there was internal polling done by Democrats on the Wisconsin recall election and that what they saw was enough to get them to convince the President not to pay a visit. And even if their internal polling didn’t show anything like that, Obama’s failure to successfully campaign in the MA Senate race that Scott Brown (R) eventually won and the NJ Governor’s race where Corzine (D) ran for re-election and lost were (obvious) indicators enough that when you have a competitive race and a President whose unpopularity is growing with the American public, you shouldn’t get him (or her) involved in heavily campaigning for “your guy” – if at all.
Not only that, but this year is shaping up to be the year of “uphill battles” for not only this President but his also his party. Adding one more failure to his long list of such, especially one so high profile, would not be smart election-year strategy for any Democrat in a competitive race.
Still, the bad side of me would have loved to see him actively campaign for Barrett, both in Wisconsin and outside …. schadenfreude and all that.