Democrats flee as Obama approaches Missouri

Yesterday, the AP attempted to use its skewed poll to argue that Barack Obama will be “an asset” on the campaign trail in the midterms.  Missouri Democrats aren’t buying it.  Most of them fled as Obama visited their state for a fundraiser for Claire McCaskill and to campaign for ObamaCare, the very reason most Democrats find themselves so unpopular this year:

The Show Me State temporarily became the No-Show State on Wednesday as some prominent Missouri Democrats decided they’d rather be somewhere else when President Obama came to push his massive health care overhaul plan.

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, the all-but-certain Democratic nominee for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Christopher S. “Kit” Bond, was “already locked in” to meetings in Washington, D.C., on Wall Street financial reforms, said her spokesman, Linden Zakula, who downplayed her absence for Mr. Obama’s visit to St. Charles, just outside St. Louis. …

Rep. Ike Skelton, one of 39 House Democrats who voted against the party’s health care overhaul bill in December, also skipped the presidential stop in his home state. Mr. Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, was taking part in a House floor debate on the future of the war in Afghanistan.

In addition, Rep. Russ Carnahan, a Democrat from St. Louis and Mrs. Carnahan’s brother, skipped the event, even though it was in his home district.

Meetings weren’t the only events into which Robin Carnahan was “locked,” as the Washington Times notes.  Carnahan also attended a $5000-a-plate fundraiser at the home of Senator Mary Landrieu.  Zakula said that Carnahan “feels very strongly about the need for financial regulatory reform,” but it seems more likely that she feels strongly about getting a chunk of that campaign cash.  At any rate, she feels more strongly about either or both than being seen with President Obama, despite being in a tough election contest … or perhaps because of it.

Zakula didn’t have entirely positive spin for reporters, however.  Noting that McCaskill isn’t even running for re-election this cycle, reporters asked Zakula for a reaction to Obama’s fundraising for the Senator rather than Congressional candidates.  “You’ll have to ask the White House,” was the response.

How odd is it for a Congressman to play hooky when a President of his own party pays his district a visit?  Normally, elected officials flock to bask in the President’s media coverage — including some politicians of the opposition party.  Russ Carnahan’s absence speaks volumes.

The Washington Post reports that the White House sees these visits as a blessing to allies:

At the same time, Obama intends to lobby wavering House Democrats to vote for a Senate version of the legislation and to support the subsequent reconciliation process, which Republicans have characterized as an unjustified use of majority power. Among the rewards Obama is ready to offer, White House officials said, are election-year visits to competitive congressional districts, where a presidential appearance can bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds.

Maybe he’d do better by offering to stay away.