Coming off stinging election losses in Virginia and New Jersey — not to mention Copenhagen, where he failed to win the 2016 Olympics for his hometown of Chicago — President Obama is staying away from what could become another painful loss.
Even though the campaign of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has been making quiet entreaties, the president has no plans to visit her in the last week of the special election to fill the Senate seat once held by the late Edward M. Kennedy.
“It’s not on our schedule to go to next week,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said matter-of-factly.
With Mrs. Coakley flagging in the polls and Republican Scott Brown closing fast — one recent polls puts him 2 points ahead — Mr. Obama has decided to keep his fingerprints off a race that would be an embarrassment for Democrats should they lose, given that Mr. Obama won the state in 2008 by a 27 point margin.
Mr. Obama last year lost a high-profile bid to bring the Olympics to his hometown, even after he flew to Copenhagen to make a personal pitch. That slight followed the gubernatorial losses last November in Virginia and New Jersey, where Mr. Obama campaigned hard for the Democrats only to see them defeated.
While the president is taking a hands-off approach to the Massachusetts race, he did send an e-mail to supporters this week urging them to support Mrs. Coakley.
“We all need Ted Kennedy’s seat to be filled by a champion for change — and Martha Coakley is that champion,” he wrote in the message. “The stakes are high. Time is short,” he added. “And your role is essential.”
Mrs. Coakley told the Boston Herald on Wednesday that she hasn’t heard from the White House, but that she would welcome any public support from Obama.
“I welcome his support, but we’ve got a lot of support here in Massachusetts [and] I think he’s got a lot on his plate in Washington,” she told the paper.
On Thursday, Mr. Obama cut a video for the Democrat. “Its clear now that the outcome of these and other fights will probably rest on one vote in the United States Senate, Mr. Obama said in the message. “Thats why what happens Tuesday in Massachusetts is so important.”
But not quite important enough for a presidential visit.
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
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