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 months 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. SJAJR

    When I get a phone call for a poll or an opinion on something. I don't take them. The only people that answer these things are people who have an opinion. I will bet there are others like me. Not a good sampling. Plus 1400 out of how many people are eligible to vote or are going to vote is not a very big sample size. It makes for a story, keeps the drama queens screaming, but not the best data.

    July 9, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. Trooth

    @Alan

    That is good for Wall Street. Meanwhile on main street we have the lowest employment participation rate since Jimmy Carter, the highest number of people on government assistance, the highest percentage of underemployed people ever. And much of that is due to the ACA. Businesses increased part time jobs to avoid the ACA. Congratulations. Coproprate profits are up and the middle class is struggling. If this was a GOP President you would be singing a completely different tune. The disparity of wealth has increased much more under Barrack Obama then under GW Bush. The rich are getting richer and the poor are increasing in numbers which is good for the Democrats who can count on all those government dependents to vote Democrat.

    July 9, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. Ed F.

    Non story, the article rebuffs it's own headline and lead.

    July 9, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. Brian

    Demos should be embracing Obama with the Dow the highest in history, Bush's deficit cut by 2/3, job creation the highest in decades, only one war which we will be out of soon, etc. If Romney had won the US would be totally screwed by now. If Congress goes Demo we can really get stuff done the next two years.

    July 9, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Smeagel4T

    What an amazing back-flip of writing to try and make sensationalism out of this. The president doesn't exactly have a flexible schedule, and the senate's schedule doesn't shuffle around to accommodate one senator. Given that the senator has legitimate votes coming up, I would be laughing at the conspiracy theories even if this was Bush and some GOP senator. I don't believe the article even mentioned the Senate being in the middle of fast-tracking a repair to the Supreme Court's activist "Hobby Lobby is now an uber commercial-religion" ruling. I rather think that if the Senate is in the middle of fast tracking that, the president would prefer the senator being at the Capitol rather than with the president.

    July 9, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. tiz

    like rats on a sinking ship...

    July 9, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. jason

    GOP's fox propaganda worked....how else can you explain a president rebuilding America and not Iraq, providing healthcare to millions, extendeing a halping hand to unemployed after BUSGOP shipped away their jobs, getting Bin laden that the former inept/corrupt adminstration failed to get be considered the worst. I want the democrats to also fail the next GOP president even if it means completely destroying America alike the GOP traitors

    July 9, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. Luc

    I hope he loses

    July 9, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. tonyb

    Right- he's too busy to campaign with POTUS. Coward. Grow a spine Udall.

    July 9, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. Bill, Bloominton IL

    just like what the GOP did during GWBs midterm. Thank you but no thank you. It is funny to see the dems squirm.

    July 9, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Smeagel4T says:
    July 9, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm
    What an amazing back-flip of writing to try and make sensationalism out of this. The president doesn’t exactly have a flexible schedule, and the senate’s schedule doesn’t shuffle around to accommodate one senator. Given that the senator has legitimate votes coming up, I would be laughing at the conspiracy theories even if this was Bush and some GOP senator. I don’t believe the article even mentioned the Senate being in the middle of fast-tracking a repair to the Supreme Court’s activist “Hobby Lobby is now an uber commercial-religion” ruling. I rather think that if the Senate is in the middle of fast tracking that, the president would prefer the senator being at the Capitol rather than with the president.

    Welcome to the GOP controlled MSM!!! Ain't life grand???😳

    July 9, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  12. zandhcats

    Voters tend to have short memory and short sight, it's saddened to see Bush approval rate is higher than the President. They totally forget that his policies are the result of today's economy and political vile-the John Roberts' Supreme Court.

    July 9, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. Zman

    Brian

    Demos should be embracing Obama with the Dow the highest in history, Bush's deficit cut by 2/3, job creation the highest in decades, only one war which we will be out of soon, etc. If Romney had won the US would be totally screwed by now. If Congress goes Demo we can really get stuff done the next two years.
    ______________
    Obama has nothing to do with corporate earnings (thank god) or the stock market and the only reason the deficit is falling is because Congress has had the bit in his mouth to restrain obscene spending. Each of my kids could go from undergrad through medical school on their college funds but Obama sure as heck didn't build that. He promised healthcare for $2500/annually a family and most of us pay that ever few months but I could go on with his lies for days.

    July 9, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. Hap

    Tiz, you mean the ship republicans are hell bent on sinking? That would be the USS Middle Class. Go tell it on faux news, oh that's right no commenting on their site, someone might exercise their free speech rights. Next thing you know people will want proof and facts to back up the lies republicans tell their mindless ignorant followers.

    July 9, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. anamericanfirst

    this is one democrat who has an interest in the welfare of all americans by his stance on climate change. if your air is sick, rivers dry and land polluted and climate changing we need politicians that see the protection and conservation the top priority, otherwise nothing else matters.

    July 9, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. Al

    It must be time for the Democrats to distance themselves from Obama on every subject.

    July 9, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. julie

    democrats politicians are such pucci's, they are weak and have NO back bone no spine.............they let republicans politicians run all over them bully them and they just set and take it bunch of sissies....like when Clinton was pres repubs ran all of his cabinet members out of office if they were NOT WHITE they won't stand up for AHC....they are cowards pucci's I tell ya, damn I wish they'd get some damn backbone

    July 9, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. Rockymtnhi

    There is not Tie. Cnn just trying to keep people interested. Udall is goin to beet that ultra conservatiive Gardner whom doesnt protect womens rights, doesnt like imigrants, and tows the simple line of the Koch Bros funding the good ole boy white republican male. DONT VOTE REPUBLICAN.. all they want to do is SUE YOU!

    July 9, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  19. Fair is Fair

    Zman

    Brian

    Demos should be embracing Obama with the Dow the highest in history, Bush's deficit cut by 2/3, job creation the highest in decades, only one war which we will be out of soon, etc. If Romney had won the US would be totally screwed by now. If Congress goes Demo we can really get stuff done the next two years.
    ______________
    Obama has nothing to do with corporate earnings (thank god) or the stock market and the only reason the deficit is falling is because Congress has had the bit in his mouth to restrain obscene spending. Each of my kids could go from undergrad through medical school on their college funds but Obama sure as heck didn't build that. He promised healthcare for $2500/annually a family and most of us pay that ever few months but I could go on with his lies for days.
    ---------
    To be fair, he didn't promise $2500 annual healthcare cost for a family of 4. He promised $2500 annual SAVINGS on healthcare premiums for a family of 4.

    The result is the same, though. Neither is ever gonna happen.

    July 9, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  20. it must be said

    jason
    GOP's fox propaganda worked....
    --

    And now the lefties claim their Senators are listenin gto and taking advice from Fox News! oohhh this is precious! Thanks for pointing out just how brainless the Democrat Senators are!!!

    July 9, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    julie says:
    July 9, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm
    democrats politicians are such pucci’s, they are weak and have NO back bone no spine………….they let republicans politicians run all over them bully them and they just set and take it bunch of sissies….like when Clinton was pres repubs ran all of his cabinet members out of office if they were NOT WHITE they won’t stand up for AHC….they are cowards pucci’s I tell ya, damn I wish they’d get some damn backbone

    Agreed! There are just a few Democrats that I respect. The POTUS, AG Holder, Hillary and Bill, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. There's only one Republican that I respect and that is General Colin Powell.

    July 9, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. Tommy G

    The Democrat Governor of Colorado who is running for re-election wouldn't be seen with Obama.

    The Democrat Senator from Colorado who is running for re-election wouldn't be seen with Obama.

    A Democrat Representative from Colorado who is running for re-election wouldn't be seen with Obama.

    I guess we see the Democrat playbook for the 2014 election.... Obama? Who's Obama?? Don't know no Obama!!! Can I talk to you about our war on the healthcare system and how we are securing the borders?

    July 9, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. Robert N. constant

    This CNN headline is unfortunate and misleading. In a closely divided Senate where every vote is needed, Senator Udall is staying in Washington to cast his vote. The CNN headline implies that Senator Udall is skipping the fundraiser because he does not want to be associated with the President. Shame on you CNN!

    July 9, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. JustAnotherComment

    Looks like Obama's popularity is going down faster than Lois Lerner's hard drive…...

    July 9, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  25. bmike

    Spineless jelly fishs Obama did and is doing the best he can..you got people going crazy in the middle east..and Africa..you got North korea acting up. He has to contend with the wingnuts here in the states..you got people like looney bin Palin talking about impeach..REALLY..get a nose lift lady. Congress is the worst since ever..talking about suing the President..They seem to forget the position of President represents this country so no matter who's in office you need to respect the position..Wingnuts and Spineless Democrats..and I'm a democrat calling it out...

    July 9, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
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