As I am sure most of you know by now, Mark Udall jumped through hoops, ducked, dived, and down right evaded questions from CNN’s Dana Bash on whether he would want President Obama to campaign with him in Colorado for the 2014 midterm elections.
I must admit, Udall was masterful in his ability to not answer a simple yes or no question. Admittedly this is a common trait among politicians of both parties, but few are as skilled as Udall. For a moment, he had me actually believing that he was never asked about Obama joining him on the campaign.
What makes Udall’s comments newsworthy is that he has been a loyal supporter of the President and his signature initiative, the Affordable Care Act. In fact, Udall was such a loyal foot soldier he had his Senate staff interrogate the Colorado Division of Insurance over what Udall claimed was incorrect data regarding the number of insurance plan cancellations in the state.
So why the sudden change? Why doesn’t Udall want the man who made Health Care Reform reality to campaign with him?
In the video above, from Revealing Politics, Udall goes through a series of issues that he believes will lead to his re-election. First we get the boiler plate about solar and natural gas, despite the fact Colorado has experienced the bankruptcy of Abound Solar and an influx of anti-fracking activist within the state.
“… we’ve got lots of natural gas and solar power, that resonates with Coloradans.”
Next, and I will quote this in full so you can really feel the bovine excrement squish between your toes, Udall tosses out the obligatory comment about the Colorado way of life and a campaign focused on the future.
“We’re going to be running a strong campaign based on Colorado’s interests and Colorado’s future. My job, I think, is to protect Colorado’s way of life. We’ve got a wonderful way of life–“
Finally, we end with the confident assertion by Udall that he won’t be judged by the President, but rather by his record.
“Coloradans are going to re-elect me based on my record, not the president’s record, not what the president’s done, but what I’ve done …”
Now, how exactly Udall intends to separate himself from the President when he has voted with the Democratic party on 97% of his votes, which of course includes his votes on the stimulus and Obamacare, is beyond me. That said, I do understand why the former Outward Bound enthusiast wants Obama to take a hike during this cycle.
“In the past 10 years, just nine senators of the president’s party have won elections in states where presidential approval slips below the national average, according to a review of exit polls and election results since 2004.”
That is the quote from Scott Bland’s post at the National Journal that has some incumbent democrats up for election in 2014 hitting the panic button. It may explain the noticeable lack of any mention of Obamacare by Udall and the almost painful attempt to not say out loud that he doesn’t want the President to be anywhere near the state of Colorado.
You see, the national average for the President’s approval is 46% and in Colorado it is 42%. Bland went on to note that between 2004 and 2010, “Senate candidates in this situation batted just 5 for 49.”
If the President’s approval ratings don’t get a bump in Colorado, I wouldn’t expect Udall to send out any campaign event invites that mention the President. On the other hand, if the President does get a bump, I could see Udall’s calendar opening up very quickly.
After a year of Democratic overreach at the state level over guns and taxes that led historic recall elections and a state wide rebuke of the Democratic tax increase, topped off by a disastrous healthcare rollout and the state’s Senator intimidating a state agency, I for one don’t foresee a bump for the President or Mark Udall.
*Full Disclosure: I was the Communications Director for the Buck For Colorado campaign and continue to consult for the campaign in limited a fashion.