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
2 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. Fair is Fair

    yolanda

    NO, @Rudy, far be it from me to try to tell you anything........
    -------–
    Go easy on him, @yolanda... he was just "being sarcastic".

    July 9, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. Zman

    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.
    ___________________
    Divide, ignore and evade doesn't apply to polls.

    July 9, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. Lily

    Politics stink a lot nowadays. Very few still make sense. Rick Perry running away from Pres. Obama so that he can't be seen shaking a hand with him, while he is the only President he has and no one else; this man Udall not wanting to meet the President while he is the only top leader of his Party!!!! Where are we heading to? Is this not craziness if at all not stupidity!!! Is there anyone somewhere still thinking in a right way????????

    July 9, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. Silence DoGood

    ""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. "
    ------------–
    So nothing unusual. But right wingers will see crisis, conspiracy, and doom.

    July 9, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. 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.

    NO, @Rudy, far be it from me to try to tell you anything........
    =================================================
    Well, if you want to get smart about it, then let me tell you that you've got it wrong. Not every aircraft that the POTUS might travel on uses the call sign "Air Force One". Ever heard of "Marine One" before?

    Good grief. You folks remind me of the Keystone Kops at times.

    July 9, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. Harry Kuheim

    This is just a show Dems are putting on to make it look like they don't support Obama...when in reality they backed him 100% from day one and helped him pass Obama Care, Gay Marriage, Solyndra, Stimulus, Open Borders, Selective Law Enforcement, Domestic Spying, Weaponization of the IRS, and Gays in the Military.

    July 9, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. Alan

    Such a disaster, have you looked at the new record highs on the stock market, have you noticed that home prices have rebounded, have you noticed that unemployment is down to 6.1 percent and have you noticed that the right-wingers have done everything in their power to keep all those positive things and more from occurring.

    July 9, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. yolanda

    @Rudy, I was simply trying to point something out to you, but as usual, you insist on being condescending and argumentative. Yes, I am familiar with Marine One. It is the helicopter that the president is aboard. May I dust the erasers and join the rest of the class at recess now, please teacher? Tool......

    July 9, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Udall is getting bad advice. I recall Al Gore distancing himself from President Clinton when he ran against George W. Bush. He made a mistake.

    July 9, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Lily says:
    July 9, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm
    Politics stink a lot nowadays. Very few still make sense. Rick Perry running away from Pres. Obama so that he can’t be seen shaking a hand with him, while he is the only President he has and no one else; this man Udall not wanting to meet the President while he is the only top leader of his Party!!!! Where are we heading to? Is this not craziness if at all not stupidity!!! Is there anyone somewhere still thinking in a right way????????

    You can thank your GOP controlled media for that. They actually believe a poll polling 1400 republican voters represents all of America. The two term POTUS that they worked so hard to destroy.

    Did you read about the parade in Nebraska? Google it. Nebraska parade Obama should do it. 😣

    July 9, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  11. old age voter

    Democrats that are not in the bluest of blue states won’t go near president Obama knowing being seen with president Obama; having a picture taken with president Obama may end their political career in the next election. Democrats can’t and won’t run on president Obama achievements; because there are none. President Obama represents 6 plus years of failures.

    July 9, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    yolanda

    @Rudy, I was simply trying to point something out to you, but as usual, you insist on being condescending and argumentative. Yes, I am familiar with Marine One. It is the helicopter that the president is aboard. May I dust the erasers and join the rest of the class at recess now, please teacher? Tool......
    -------------------------–
    You started it. Or, did you forget? Your original remark was condescending. Or, did you not notice?

    July 9, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    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.
    ___________________
    Divide, ignore and evade doesn’t apply to polls.

    It sure doesn't go ask President Mittens. He approves your answer.

    July 9, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. love344

    @ old age voter... I pity you

    July 9, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  15. Gurgyl

    @old age voter, I bet you are senile not to remember to two unfunded wars that were drain, and trickle down with Iran arms sale by republican bums. Show me single terror incident inside after Obama, I bet because of Obama your insurance is not cancelled despite cancerous disease, now having insurance is a boon to you. Don't rant on color–world is laughing at you. Take pill to sleep.

    July 9, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Is it Montana or Colorado , where Men are Men and Sheep are Sheep ?

    July 9, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. Tony D

    Thomas
    Is it Montana or Colorado , where Men are Men and Sheep are Sheep ?
    -–

    In Colorado, men are men and Deomcrats are nowhere to be found, especially if Obama is in town.

    July 9, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. GTS58

    In fact, three Democrats have skipped these Obama fund raisers! Obama is toxic to fellow Democrats!

    July 9, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. Jack

    This democrat knows that Obama is Toxic.

    July 9, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. scoot27

    Oddly enough Udall is going to the border to see the conditions of the illegals coming across the border.

    July 9, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Dave in IL

    Obama is like radioactive waste, nobody wants to be seen with him. On the other hand, Udall looks like he just climbed out of a coffin.

    July 9, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. Gurgyl

    -you are toxic to this nation to have made irrelevant nonsense of second century in Electronic era, gts58.

    July 9, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. Crane Kick

    The rats are leaving the sinking ship!

    July 9, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. Crane Kick

    "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."

    One million votes from dead people in Chicago don't speak for the country either.

    July 9, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. Steve

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....
    excerpt of Lily comment: You can thank your GOP controlled media for that. They actually believe a poll polling 1400 republican voters represents all of America.
    First it is laughable to say the media is GOP controlled, Fox I'll give you but CNN and MSNBC?
    The 1400 polled were across party affiliations, not all Republicans

    July 9, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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