Democratic senator skips fundraiser with Obama
Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado interviewed by CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash
July 9th, 2014
09:39 AM ET
3 weeks ago

Democratic senator skips fundraiser with Obama

(CNN) - President Barack Obama says keeping the Democrats in control of the Senate is one of his top priorities this year.

But his trip to Colorado is a vivid illustration of just how much the President – who is the party's top fundraiser but who is also saddled with low approval ratings – can, and can't, help.

Obama headlined a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser Wednesday afternoon in Denver, with half the money raised at the event going to Sen. Mark Udall's campaign. The first term Democratic senator from Colorado faces a difficult re-election this year against Rep. Cory Gardner, his GOP challenger. Polls indicate the race between the two candidates is tied up.

Obama offered pot during a night out in Denver

While the President spoke and took questions from those attending the fundraiser at a downtown Denver hotel, Udall wasn't  there.

Originally the senator was scheduled to fly to Denver Wednesday morning to team up with Obama at the closed door fundraiser. That itinerary meant that Udall would have missed attending a speech on the economy the President delivered two hours earlier at Cheesman Park in Denver.

Udall won't make Obama fundraiser

But new developments on Capitol Hill changed Udall's plans.

"Due to last-minute votes and legislative activity, Mark will be unable to make the trip back to Colorado on Wednesday. The Senate has decided to vote on Wednesday to confirm the new U.S. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development, who has authority over issues like flood recovery. Additionally, the Senate will be continuing legislative action on a bipartisan Sportsmen's bill, which includes Mark's legislation to expand access to public shooting ranges, as well as introduction of Mark's bill to secure women's access to contraception," said a statement from Udall's campaign.

The statement ended by saying that "Mark is grateful for the president's support, and had hoped to welcome him to Colorado in person, but his responsibilities to serve Colorado in the Senate come first."

Colorado's other Democratic Senator, DSCC Chairman Michael Bennet, as well as Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette, who represents the state's 1st Congressional District, also missed the fundraiser, due to business back in Washington.

Udall's campaign says the call was a "no-brainer  for us. Representing Colorado in the Senate comes first."

The day job definitely comes first, but a non-partisan analyst said something else may be at play.

"I don't think there are accidents when it comes to the President's schedule and I don't think there are accidents when it comes to senators and members of Congress and their schedules," said Nathan Gonzales, deputy editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report.

Avoiding the President?

Udall made headlines back in January, when he avoided answering repeated questions from CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash on whether he'd campaign with Obama when the President traveled to Colorado.

"Does that mean you're going to campaign with him?" Bash asked, during an interview immediately following the State of the Union address.

"We're going to be running a strong campaign based on Colorado's interests and Colorado's future," Udall responded.

"That was not a yes or no," Bash replied.

"We'll see what the president's schedule is, we'll see what my schedule is," Udall said. "But Coloradans are going to reelect me based on my record, not the president's record."

After Bash asked again for a yes or no answer, Udall said "We'll see what the schedule allows."

Even before the last minute change in travel plans, Republicans were pouncing on Udall.

"Sen. Udall's message to the president is clear: Help me rake in campaign cash behind closed doors, keep the media from capturing photos of us together and avoid real Coloradans at all costs," said Garnder spokesman Alex Siciliano.

"Mark Udall has supported Barack Obama 99 percent of the time in Washington, so hiding from the unpopular President and their shared record only proves how vulnerable he is," wrote National Republican Senatorial Committee Press Secretary Brook Hougesen.

It's no mystery why Republicans are trying to tie Udall to Obama. A recent Quinnipiac University poll indicated the President's approval rating among Colorado voters stood at 38%, which is nothing to brag about.

It's a strategy Republicans are using in races across the country this midterm cycle, as they expect to hold their majority in the House and hope to capture the Senate. Democrats have a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party). But in the midterms, the party is defending 21 of the 36 seats up for grabs, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states.

Fundraiser-in-Chief

With President Barack Obama's approval rating hovering near its all-time lows – and with polls indicating his health care law remains unpopular with many Americans – the President may not be in high demand this year on the campaign trail.

"If Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall doesn't want to be seen with the president, imagine what Democratic Senate hopefuls in West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana, Arkansas and North Carolina must be thinking," pointed out Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg report.

While there are a number of congressional Democrats facing challenging re-elections who aren't screaming for Obama to stump with them, they do

look to the President to bring in the bucks. Because when it comes to fundraising, Obama remains the party's top rainmaker.

Complete Coverage: 2014 Midterm Elections

Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Paul Begala says Obama's doing just what a sitting president should to help his party in a midterm election year.

"Presidents in mid-term elections rarely deliver votes by old-fashioned stumping," said Begala. "Reagan couldn't, nor could Clinton or Bush. But what they can do are two things: raise issues and raise money. With his middle-class economic agenda, he is raising big issues: equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage, pre-K, etc. Now it looks like he's raising big money, too. That's all a party can ask of a President in a mid-term."


Filed under: 2014 • Colorado • Mark Udall • President Obama • Senate • Senate Race
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. Lynda/Minnesota

    Oh, hey, Dana Bash. Thanks for the political "scoop" of the day.

    July 9, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. Tone

    Democrats are weak they have allowed the Gop to punk them they should have stood up for the ACA a long time ago but they didn't what a bunch of chickens klock klock klock.

    July 9, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Lynda/Minnesota says:
    July 9, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am
    Oh, hey, Dana Bash. Thanks for the political “scoop” of the day.

    Ikr! 😉 This should make their day.

    July 9, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Who said every Democrat has common sense? Doesn't Udall realize that he's opened himself up to the very thing that he thinks that he's running away from? Nope. He'll learn the hard way, though, when he's out of a job. I guess the lessons of 2010 didn't need to be taught again to some folks.

    July 9, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Cam

    Uh of course. But I don't think he has anything to worry about as CO is pretty blue now and not coming back. Its a beautiful state to vacation in but I wouldn't live there full time with kids. Great place to ship all the illegals – start in Aspen and Vail.

    July 9, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  6. Gunderson

    Hey Son,
    If you are a democrat go down with the ship. Well that is probably going to happen anyway. You can always go to work in a food kitchen, if some Mexican doesn't already have the job.

    July 9, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  7. Alan

    I never redoing to any articles on CNN, but when I read that piece by Alex Castellanos I realized something had to be said. The guy is a total loser, he is nothing but Republican mouthpiece making a living spewing hatred against our President. He has accomplished nothing, just look who he claims to have advised. Romney, Jen Bush, George W. And Jesse Helms and wondering how is that all going for helping our great country.

    July 9, 2014 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  8. Alan

    Should say never respond not redoing, like I said I am first time blogger so forgive my failure to proof read.

    July 9, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. Gary

    Come on now Lynda, a Senator actually staying in Washington to do his job is headline news. Or more like a miracle.

    July 9, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  10. Fair is Fair

    Louisiana. Alaska. Arkansas. North Carolina. Colorado. South Dakota. West Virginia. Montana. Iowa.

    Poor Harry Reid... poor, poor MINORITY leader Harry Reid.

    July 9, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. luke,az

    Snub the most popular president in history, a big mistake. I have never been asked about the president's approval , which would be 100 % in my household ! Unbelievable, the miss-information from the media.

    July 9, 2014 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  12. Gurgyl

    -don't be stupid. This is exactly what Al Gore did mistake while running for WH bid not using Bill Clinton. Let Obama come and campaign. Now, this nation is heading in a "RIGHT DIRECTION". Learn this truth. Stock Market is up, unemployment is down. Nonetheless congress being horrible. Good lucks, god bless!!!!!!

    July 9, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  13. yolanda

    @Rudy, Air Force One is the call sign for whatever aircraft the president is aboard.....i.e. it is not a specific aircraft, but rather identification of the equipment when he is aboard.

    July 9, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  14. it must be said

    NOBODY wants Obama to campaign for them, NOBODY wants their picture taken with him, they just want him to raise tons of money so the Democrats can spread their lies and smear campaigns like they do in every election. When Obama's poll numbers come out again, they will likely be in the 30s with his self made southern border disaster.

    The guy is a total loser and a disaster for this country. America, please do not continue to empower him and Harry Reid by voting for Democrat Senators! End the far left Obama-Democrat nightmare!!

    July 9, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. Tony D

    Fair is Fair
    Louisiana. Alaska. Arkansas. North Carolina. Colorado. South Dakota. West Virginia. Montana. Iowa.
    Poor Harry Reid... poor, poor MINORITY leader Harry Reid.
    --

    Don't forget New Hampshire!

    July 9, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    yolanda

    @Rudy, Air Force One is the call sign for whatever aircraft the president is aboard.....i.e. it is not a specific aircraft, but rather identification of the equipment when he is aboard.
    -----------------------------–
    I realize that is the call sign. Are trying to tell me that they do not have multiple aircraft with identical markings, ones which we typically identify as "Air Force One"? Don't go there. They have at least two, probably four.

    July 9, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  17. Zman

    luke,az

    Snub the most popular president in history, a big mistake. I have never been asked about the president's approval , which would be 100 % in my household ! Unbelievable, the miss-information from the media.
    _________
    You must have been away for a while. He was just voted the worst President since WWII. But this is pretty standard for politicians – getting elected is their thing not loyalty.

    July 9, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Lynda/Minnesota says:
    July 9, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am
    Oh, hey, Dana Bash. Thanks for the political “scoop” of the day.

    Ikr! 😉 This should make their day.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Red Meat Friday is showing up earlier and earlier each week here on CNN ain't it?!
    There they go!
    Yum-yum! Smackety smack!
    Slurp it up GOPers.

    July 9, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  19. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Dominican mama 4 Obama says:
    July 9, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am
    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross…..

    Lynda/Minnesota says:
    July 9, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am
    Oh, hey, Dana Bash. Thanks for the political “scoop” of the day.

    Ikr! 😉 This should make their day.
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————————
    Red Meat Friday is showing up earlier and earlier each week here on CNN ain’t it?!
    There they go!
    Yum-yum! Smackety smack!
    Slurp it up GOPers.

    It is. It's actually red meat everyday!!! They're really going overboard to prove they're no leftist media.😴😴

    July 9, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    You must have been away for a while. He was just voted the worst President since WWII. But this is pretty standard for politicians – getting elected is their thing not loyalty.

    1400 people don't speak for the entire country. It was a BS poll and the only people that care are the ones that hated him from day 1. And that includes many democrats that hated him for besting Hillary.

    July 9, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  21. yolanda

    NO, @Rudy, far be it from me to try to tell you anything........

    July 9, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    Red Meat Friday is showing up earlier and earlier each week here on CNN ain’t it?!
    There they go!
    Yum-yum! Smackety smack!
    Slurp it up GOPers.

    It is. It's actually red meat everyday!!! They're really going overboard to prove they're no leftist media.😴😴
    --------------

    I know, right? I have to admit, for a "news" organization ... CNN is certainly non-biased in their pursuit of all that is GOPerville.

    July 9, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. Donna

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....
    --
    You must have been away for a while. He was just voted the worst President since WWII. But this is pretty standard for politicians – getting elected is their thing not loyalty.
    --
    1400 people don't speak for the entire country. It was a BS poll and the only people that care are the ones that hated him from day 1. And that includes many democrats that hated him for besting Hillary.
    --

    Pretty hiliarious when all the Obama koolaid drinkers start saying that polling isn't accurate just because it is not good news for the failure in chief. Keep drinking that koolaid people, chug-a-lug-a-lug!! November is coming fast!!

    July 9, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. Gurgyl

    --zman, I bet you are in zzzzzz. It is not Pres. Obama, it is W, and Reagan are the worst. Let me emphasize W, Reagan, the worst, one wars, two Trickle down and Iran arms loots.

    July 9, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  25. Wes

    I agree. obama is a disaster.

    July 9, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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