Politico has a very interesting article about the shaky re-election prospects of Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who flipped from being a Republican to a Democrat... and who, at the time was promised full support from President Obama:
President Barack Obama says he loves Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) — just not quite enough to hazard an 11th-hour political trip to Pennsylvania for an ally of convenience increasingly viewed as unlikely to win.
Just last year, the White House was crowing about Specter’s conversion to the Democratic Party, and Obama pledged, “He will have my full support. . .”
Tuesday’s primary is telling a different story: Once thought to be an unalloyed asset for most any Democratic candidate, Obama’s personal involvement is no longer guaranteed – or guaranteed to succeed.
Well, well. Arlen Specter's suddenly long-shot candidacy is now anathema to Obama, who is showing only the meagerest interest in giving props to Specter... as Politco reports, limited to the use of Obama's image in an ad campaign and one weekend conference call with black clergy in Pennsylvania. (Interestingly, Fox News has an article up generally in line with Politico's premise and observations)
Could this be the writing on the wall for Alexi Giannoulias?
As we noted earlier, while Obama gave Alexi a hug (both literally and in his speech) in Obama's most recent Illinois appearance, he could easily have done more, and Alexi's campaign chairman Dick Durbin has apparently not gotten much traction with the White House to parachute in and save Alexi's moribund campaign.
Alexi likes to point out that Obama is still quite a bit more popular here in his adopted home state than in some other states where Obama has been fairly ineffective in helping Dems to win elections, especially where Obama comes in at the last minute.
Maybe this ought to be a lesson to the Giannoulias campaign... if you have any prayer of getting Obama to come in for you, maybe you ought to be making that plea right now, and not saving whatever you think you are going to get for the 'fourth quarter' of the game. At this rate, you might not make it....
UPDATED 5/18/10 9:00 a.m.: Stuart Rothenberg wonders in Roll Call today about Giannoulias and whether the Dems will shove him aside. Rothernberg sets up blame to lay at the door of Obama if Alexi sputters miserably in November, as we all expect:
Even in a bad year for Democrats nationally, it seems odd that Republican prospects in the Illinois Senate race look so good.
Yes, the GOP got the candidate it wanted in Kirk, and the president’s numbers in the state have slipped from where they were. But Democrats would be in better shape if they didn’t have a nominee who was such damaged goods.
Illinois folks in and around the White House surely know that, and that’s why pressure is building for them to do something soon. If they don’t and Democrats lose the seat, it will be hard not to place a chunk of the blame at the front door of the White House