President Obama believes that the 2014 midterm elections are a referendum on his policies.
“I am not on the ballot this fall,” Obama said at Northwestern University. “Michelle’s pretty happy about that. But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them. This isn’t a political speech, and I’m not going to tell you who to vote for – even though I suppose it is kind of implied.”
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza pointed out that Obama’s comment, on video, makes for a devastating attack ad in red states where vulnerable Democrats are trying to fend off Republican challenges.
“The Obama political team is working under the assumption that if you dislike President Obama, nothing he says or does is going to change that reality. So, why not show the Democratic base that this election is worth fighting for?” Cillizza writes. “I think that underestimates the impact of an unpopular president (on video no less!) bluntly insisting that an election in 33 days is indeed a referendum on his policies. Republicans couldn’t have written a better script than that.”
The comments could be harmful to Representative Bruce Braley (D., Iowa), as well. Although Obama carried the state in both his presidential campaigns, his approval rating their has collapsed recently.
“His approval rating stands at its lowest point since the start of his presidency, with only 38 percent of Iowans behind him,” U.S. News and World Report noted based on a September Gallup poll.
Braley tried to distance himself from Obama during his debate with Republican opponent Joni Ernst on Sunday.
“President Obama’s name is not on the ballot,” Braley said. “And I’m not going to owe President Obama anything on Election Day.”