CNN'S Whitfield: Obama's Campaigning for Coakley 'Was a Fairly Risky' Move

October 16th, 2010 5:05 PM

On CNN Newsroom today, anchor Fredricka Whitfield reported on President Barack Obama campaigning for the re-election of Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts.  She had this exchange with Dan Lothian, White House correspondent for CNN:

WHITFIELD: And so, Dan, the White House thinks this is fairly risk free given that it was a fairly risky move for the president to campaign for Martha Coakley back in the day when she was pushing for the late Ted Kennedy's seat?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Risk free in this particular race right now, but you're right. Back in January, when the president made that last minute visit for Martha Coakley, it had been widely viewed she ran a lackluster campaign. The president came at the last minute to help her pull off a win.

How risky was it for Barack the Bold to hit the trail for Coakley?  A Research 2000 poll taken days before Obama's January 17th appearance had Coakley over Republican Scott Brown by a 49% to 41% margin.  Only 14 months earlier, Obama had won Massachusetts with 62% of the vote.  The last time Massachusetts voters elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate was 1972.

Clearly, there's little basis for claiming Obama's stumping for Coakley was politically dangerous.  In the Age of Obama, we've come to expect more and more of such revisionism.

That isn't to say there's no risk involved when Obama campaigns for a candidate.  Just ask recent Democratic statewide candidates in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts.  They all lost their elections.