Serious question: Does he want to lose?
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid embraced President Barack Obama's standing in an exclusive interview with CNN on Tuesday, stating that he encourages vulnerable Senate Democrats running for re-election in 2014 to invite the President to campaign with them even in states where he is unpopular.
Reid's exclusive comments to CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash come just hours ahead of the President's State of the Union address on Tuesday night and months ahead the 2014 midterm elections, where Democrats will fight to keep the majority in the Senate.
"Barack Obama is personally a very popular guy. And people love this man. They love his family," Reid told Bash. "Of course, with what the Republicans have been doing, trying to denigrate him with what's happened with the rollout of Obamacare, but things, even this week, his numbers are going up again."
"So you would encourage some of your most vulnerable Senate Democratic candidates to invite President Obama to appear with them," Bash asked.
"Yes, and they will," Reid said.
I’m not sure the data supports that assertion. A recent Fox News poll discovered that only 32 percent of respondents “like both him and his policies,” whereas only 31 percent claimed they “like him, but dislike his policies.” (Emphasis mine). Meanwhile, a whopping 68 percent of respondents, according to a new NBC News/WSJ poll, say the nation is “stagnant or worse off since he took office.” Super. So is this really the guy red state Dems want to go palling around with next fall? I can't imagine he is. In fact, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) already avoided the president when he visited her state earlier this month. I suspect other vulnerable Democrats will quickly follow suit.
Now, that doesn’t mean the president’s numbers won’t improve over the course of the year. That’s certainly possible. But Reid seems to believe that the president is “a very popular guy” at the moment. And no doubt he is in certain circles. But his approval ratings have recently reached all-time lows, and placed into their historical context, the president -- at least at this point in his presidency -- is hardly one of the most popular president’s in modern American history. Far from it. So by all means, Democrats, feel free to campaign with the leader of your party.
But before you do, remember: it’s not 2008 anymore.