Can Obama save the Democrats? 

The First Flosser gets back in touch with the people.    (ap photo)

Shirtsleeves? Check. Twangy vernacular? Check. Vigorous defense of economic policies combined with a lot of anti-Washington rhetoric? Hello, midterm election year.

President Obama this week was in Colorado and Nevada, stumping for two of the Senate's most vulnerable Democratic incumbents, Michael Bennet and Harry Reid.Whether the president's coattails are sufficiently commodious for all the Dems who need help this year is a problem without an easy answer.

"Look, I think the political landscape, not just in these two states but throughout the country, continues to be dominated by concern about the economy -- not surprisingly," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

Obama has a few things going for him -- he is still popular within his own party and he is a prodigious fundraiser. But like Gibbs said, this sour economy has voters thinking more anti-incumbent than anything else -- which is bad news for the majority party.

"With all the petty politics and game playing in Washington, I know you guys can get pretty frustrated," Obama told a town hall in Henderson, Nevada.

The White House has signaled they hope to get Obama out of Washington at least once a week.

His midterm campaign message willinclude touting modest economic gains, lightly mocking Republicans (for opposing the stimulus but then turning up to "cheese around" at the subsequent stiumulus project ribbon-cutting), deploring Washington generally, and dropping in some health care, mortgage assistance and other topics.

Will it work? In some tight races, Obama could end up being a political liability for candidates in states like Missouri, Coloradao, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Arkansas, among others.

What's at stake are Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. But as the past year has demonstrated, owning those majorities has not made it easy for Obama to get much done. But the 2010 message is that he made tough choices that were not always popular, but he did them for the right reason -- to help the economy.

"It wasn't a time for satisfying the politics of the moment," ," Obama said. "It wasn't time for playing to the cameras. It was a time for doing what was right."

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Julie Mason

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