A little more than a year after Obama is sworn in to another term, there will be high-profile Senate races in swing states like Colorado, North Carolina and New Hampshire. One red-state Democrat — Sen. Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.) — has already announced his retirement, putting in play a seat that has been in Democratic hands for nearly three decades.

While Obama is now riding high in public-opinion polls — and the GOP is struggling with historically low approval ratings — senior Democratic senators and aides say the president must face a stark political reality even as he begins his second term as commander in chief. Newly reelected and emboldened red-state Democrats, as well as senators up for reelection in 2014, want and need to show independence from the White House. For these Democrats, a visit or endorsement by Obama is not going to help them win, although they will be happy to have his money or checks from his donor network. …

“What you have in the Democratic Caucus — probably more so now than the Republican [Conference] — you have a sizable amount of moderates,” Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), up for reelection in 2014, told POLITICO. “We are kind of practical, let’s get things done, we’re willing to try some new stuff. But we’re not going to do the same ol’, same ol’. I think that’s a struggle with the administration at times.”