Hagan steers clear of Obama in North Carolina
January 15th, 2014
11:21 AM ET
9 years ago

Hagan steers clear of Obama in North Carolina

Updated 1:32 p.m. ET, 1/15/2014

(CNN) - In what may be a sign to come for the midterm elections, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, who faces a tough re-election battle this year, stayed far away from President Barack Obama's visit to her home state on Wednesday.

And Republicans didn't let the snub go unnoticed.

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Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group backed by the billionaire Koch Brothers, released a new web video Wednesday, labeling Hagan and Obama as best friends because of their support for the Affordable Care Act.

The ad blasts Hagan for repeating what's been dubbed Obama's "lie of the year": the President's broken pledge that if people liked their health care insurance, they'd be able to keep it under Obamacare.

"While her buddy Barack is in North Carolina, she's back in Washington, hiding out," the narrator says.

Obama traveled to North Carolina to highlight his administration's steps to bolster the manufacturing sector.

But with the President's approval rating dipping in recent months amid the bungled launch of HealthCare.gov, it's not a big surprise that a vulnerable Democrat in a Republican leaning state would want to keep her distance.

Hagan's office said the senator decided to stay in Washington because the Senate is in session on Wednesday. Responding to the web video from Americans for Prosperity, Hagan's campaign communications director, Sadie Weiner, called it "another political attack from a shadowy outside group that has no accountability to North Carolinians."

"Just like she’s always been, Kay is focused on doing her job today," Weiner said, adding her work this week includes "voting on a bill to avoid a government shutdown, and attending an Armed Services Committee briefing on Iraq and Syria."

At the top of his speech Wednesday, Obama acknowledged lawmakers who attended the event, including Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

"Your Senator, Kay Hagan, couldn't be here, but I wanted to thank her publicly for the great work she's doing," Obama said.

While Hagan publicly distanced herself from the rollout of Obama's signature health care legislation, she has taken up his call for extending emergency unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless.

Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, another Democrat up for re-election this year in a red state, also declined to attend a visit by Obama to her state in November, though she still hitched a ride aboard Air Force One with the President to Louisiana that same day.

And while Hagan told a newspaper last year she would "be honored" to have Obama campaign for her in 2014, Republicans argue Hagan is now backpedaling.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee blasted out an email Wednesday saying they "understand why Kay Hagan and Mary Landrieu are avoiding the President at all costs."

Their problem, the email continued, "is that they own the unpopular agenda, making it impossible to distance from it no matter how much hide and seek they play with the President."

Another GOP group, the Republican National Committee, sent out an email Wednesday with the subject line "Where's Kay?"

The RNC pointed out that the President is scheduled to meet with the Senate Democratic Caucus Wednesday night at the White House, indicating Hagan may be among the attendees.

"Hagan isn't too busy to meet with Obama where her constituents won't see," the email stated.

North Carolina was one of two states that supported Obama in his first presidential bid, but turned red in 2012. The state has nonetheless been a favorite stop for Obama over the past five years. He's paid particular attention to the state's Research Triangle, a reliably Democratic enclave.

CNN's Dan Merica contributed to this report.

Filed under: Americans for Prosperity • Congress • Kay Hagan • North Carolina • NRSC • President Obama • RNC • Senate
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Fair is Fair

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Fair is Fair
    Up next – Landrieu of Louisiana, followed by Pryor of Arkansas and Begich of Alaska.

    Check your local istings for a time in your area.
    And if any of them run & duck for cover, they can kick rocks! The preemptive strikes are coming and they better have some fire to throw back.
    What fire? Support of the ACA? It's even more wildly unpopular in their home states than it is nationally. By all means – run on it. It's a loser for sure.

    January 15, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. sly

    Ha ha ha ha ha -- A democrat stays in Washington to help America prosper.

    Republicans? Their only clear goal in the last 3 years is to shut down America so we can be taken over.

    Hey GOP, why don't you go back to saying how great the New Jersey Mobster Christie is?

    Ha ha ha - 8 more years folks! These are GOOD TIMES for America! Thank you President Obama!

    January 15, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair


    @ Fair

    Yes, he's up this year. No contest from where it stands today. One hardly knows he's a Senator for as quiet as he's been.

    And about that billing? You might make a case for Landrieu (even though she was a supposed write off in 2010) but the others ... no, not yet. Don't look to replace Franken. Whatever MY opinions are of the man, we are talking Minnesota.
    I'm utterly amazed that there's not a competent Democrat up there that would primary him. Betcha they'd win.

    January 15, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. Jonathon Powelly

    She's back in Washington doing her job.

    January 15, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Fair

    As you are no doubt aware, Mary Landrieu was elected in 2008. I misspoke in my previous comment. I do agree her prospects are iffy at best.

    January 15, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Maybe she should try a catchy campaign slogan – smething like "If you like your health care, you can keep your health care, period"!

    January 15, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. just saying

    obama and obamacare.... shouldn't the epa be advising that toxic warning signs be shown whwnever they are present or discussed?!!! bwahahahaha!!!

    so where are the democrats running and bragging about obamacare??? heck they won't even admit they know obama! so has anybody asked hagan if she supports the repeal of obamacare? of course she doesn't. bye bye!!

    you should have read the bill before you voted for it and not lied to the american people. hagan deserves no pity and certainly no votes.

    January 15, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I'm utterly amazed that there's not a competent Democrat up there that would primary him. Betcha they'd win."

    Not going to happen. Because he's stayed low keyed, there is no reason for Dems to primary
    him. It'll be an easy win ... he's headed for 6 more years.

    January 15, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    somebody wrote:

    Maybe she should try a catchy campaign slogan – smething like "If you like your health care, you can keep your health care, period"!
    I guess the slogan Republicans should be. "You can't have your benefits and keep them, too."

    January 15, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  10. Allow Me to Translate

    Jonathon Powelly
    She's back in Washington doing her job.

    She is hiding under her desk for fear of being seen with her party leader, the LIAR OF THE YEAR, El Presidente, Dictator for Life, Barack Hussein Obama. Funny how lying and conning the American people can turn you into toxic waste.

    Sorry Hagan, even though youlike your job,you cannot keep your job. Just as many Americans liked their healthcare but couldn't keep it thanks to you and your lying president and party.

    January 15, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  11. sly

    Ho ho ho - President Obama has won EVERY SINGLE vote he's put to Congress. So if that means to some of you that Democrats are not united, perhaps you should check the votes. This woman has voted for EVERY bill President Obama has put out there.

    TeaBillies – without the New Jersey Mobster Christie, and after Cruz's meltdown/shutdown, y'all ain't got NO ONE to run.

    "Palin for GOP" "Palin for GOP"

    Even better: "Palin/McCain" in 2016.

    Ha ha ha ha ha!

    January 15, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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