CNN: White House predicts Coakley loss in MA

This puts a new spin on Barack Obama’s appearance for Martha Coakley today. Ed Henry reports for CNN that White House advisers have quietly started to predict a loss for Martha Coakley despite putting on a happy game face for public consumption. If this is true, one has to wonder why Obama bothered to show up at all today. Could it have been a decision that a failure to do anything would have been seen as an admission of weakness — and an attempt to avoid the perception that Obama won’t help protect Congressional Democrats in trouble down the road? It’s hard to believe that Obama was champing at the bit to tie himself to yet another failed Democratic candidate:

Regardless of the motivation, the result speaks for itself. While Scott Brown drew at least 3,000 for his big rally this afternoon, Obama struggled to fill his venue:

But Obama and a parade of Democrats who appeared on stage before a crowd a local fire official put at 1,100 at Northeastern University’s modest gymnasium spent much of their time trying to explain to the audience, and to themselves, how they had lost their grip on the public “anger” – a word that has replaced “hope” as the emotion Democrats seek to channel.

He couldn’t fill a hall for Deval Patrick in October, either. If Coakley was looking for a game-changer, she’s going to be disappointed.

Update: The Boston Globe puts Obama’s rally at 1500 and Brown’s at 2200 (in the main room), but makes the point that the President got overshadowed by the state Senator:

President Barack Obama urged Massachusetts voters at a Boston rally today to cast their ballots for Democrat Martha Coakley, saying she would fight for working people while her opponent, Scott Brown, is marching in “lockstep” with Washington Republicans who want to return to the failed policies of the Bush-Cheney administration.

“Where we don’t want to go now is backwards,” Obama told a crowd of 1,500 Coakley supporters at a Northeastern University gymnasium. “We’ve got so much work left to do. … I can’t do it alone. I need leaders like Martha by my side so we can kick it into high gear, so we can finish what we’ve started.” …

Brown held a competing rally at about the same time at Mechanics Hall in Worcester that was attended by 2,200 people, with other people spilling over into two additional rooms.

The rally’s speakers included a number of Massachusetts sports and entertainment celebrities, including former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling; Doug Flutie, the former Boston College and NFL quarterback; John Ratzenberger, the actor who portrayed “Cliff” on the TV show “Cheers,” and Brown’s daughter, Ayla, a BC basketball player and former American Idol contestant.

One sign said, “The president may be in Boston, but the real people of Mass. are here with Scott Brown in Worcester.”