President Obama will make nearly a dozen campaign and fundraising stops in the next two and a half weeks. But not every political candidate wants the leader of the Democratic party out on the campaign trail on their behalf. The president's approval rating is only at 44% according to RealClearPolitics and some of his policies, like the health care reform law, don't poll well in some districts. RealClearPolitics has found that only 37% approve of the president's and democrats' health care plan.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says the administration understands that not every candidate would want to be seen standing next to the president leading up to the mid-term election. "We're not going to go to places where people think it's unhelpful that we go. That would be crazy," Gibbs said at Tuesday's briefing.
Of course, as president, Mr. Obama does bring in some top fundraising dollars. At a Democratic National Committee fundraiser last month in New York, tickets went for $30,400 a piece. So while a candidate might not want that photographic image of him or herself beside the president, they wouldn't turn down the cash. "I think it's a fairly well worn adage that we will go to places where candidates think that that's helpful,. We will raise money for places -- in places where candidates and committees think that that's helpful," said Gibbs.
The question of whether it's a help or hindrance for a president to campaign for candidates running in tough races is a concept familiar with past administrations. Former White House Press Secretary and Fox News contributor Dana Perino says is all comes down to the reality that "popularity is fleeting."
"When you're popular, people will elbow their way to the front to be next to you for the photo opps, they'll cajole for invitations to big public events, they'll crawl over each other to get to be at the bill signing," Perino reminisced. "And when you're not, well, it's survival of the fittest. Members that don't want to be too close to an unpopular president will say - 'Hey, you know man, it's nothing personal, it's just...well...you know...'" And Perino notes, presidents do know. "Usually a president gets it and says, 'Yeah, I know...it's all good...don't worry about it.'"
President Obama started August off with a DNC fundraiser in Atlanta where he brought in an estimated half million dollars. He's in Chicago Thursday for three fundraisers - including one for the man who hopes to take Mr. Obama's old senate seat, Alexi Giannoulias. Mid-month the president will head out for a three-day swing hitting a half dozen fundraisers for candidates and the DNC alike. But even as Mr. Obama "works it" for his party with fundraising, some of the candidates he's supporting are barely breaking even - with some even falling behind their competitors.
In Florida, Kendrick Meek is in a very tight primary race for the senate seat against Democrat Jeff Greene. Meek who is seeking support from the White House, has been complaining of late that he won't have a prominent role in a fundraising event Obama will attend on August 18. But senior administration officials say the White House is behind Meek 100% - regardless of what the candidate says. "Inasmuch as the president says he is supporting a candidate every time he appears with them, you can bet he'll do that here," a White House official told Fox News. "His support of Meek's campaign is well known."
Another candidate not afraid of President Obama's help is also in a very tight primary race in Colorado. It's well known the president is supporting Michael Bennet in his race against Andrew Romanoff in the Democratic primary. Earlier this summer, Romanoff admitted he had been contacted by the White House about potential jobs within the administration if he ended his bid for the senate. In a "tele-town hall" on Tuesday night at the White House, Obama once again praised Bennet for his outsider approach to politics in Washington.