President Obama, after being kept off the campaign trail and relegated to fundraising duty for most of the campaign season, at last emerged on Election Day to tout Democratic candidates in several tight races.
The president recorded at least two radio ads for fellow Democrats -- including one for North Carolina incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan. The senator is one of several who have distanced themselves from Obama this campaign season.
“Just stand with me … and take responsibility of moving North Carolina forward by voting for Kay Hagan on November 4,” Obama says in the ad, paid for by the Hagan campaign.
Republicans immediately pounced on the ad. “After desperately attempting to run away from her record of rubber-stamping President Obama 96 percent of the time, Kay Hagan is ending her campaign by featuring Obama’s endorsement of her liberal partisanship and lack of independence,” the campaign for Republican Thom Tillis, who is in a close race with Hagan, said in a statement.
Republicans did the same after Obama cut a radio spot for Democrat Charlie Crist, who is trying to unseat Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott.
“After months of waiting, President Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail for Charlie Crist,” the Scott campaign said Tuesday.
The pro-Crist ad actually has been playing since Monday, according to The Miami Herald. “We already know Barack Obama’s policies are on the ballot in this election because he told us that himself. But, his new ad for Charlie Crist today means Charlie Crist wants you to know that too,” the Scott campaign also said.
Obama, whose approval rating is at about 42 percent, largely has stayed off the campaign trail, save for his de facto role as chief party fundraiser. However, he made stops this past weekend in Connecticut for Gov. Dan Malloy and in Pennsylvania for gubernatorial challenger Tom Wolf, both Democrats.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday that the Hagan ad was driven by "what's in the best interest of the candidates that we're trying to support."
Maryland residents on Tuesday also received a recorded message on their phones from Obama in support of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Anthony Brown.
Earnest said Monday that he didn’t know whether Obama would do campaign-related radio interviews.
However, the president on Tuesday made an unexpected call to a Connecticut NPR affiliate to encourage people to vote. He said he was calling because some people didn't have the opportunity to vote in the morning, since voter rolls had not arrived at polling places.
Obama also pledged his support for Malloy.