White House Continues to Defend Lincoln, Despite Differences

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Thursday insisted for the second time this week that President Obama is not wavering in his support for embattled Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln, despite a new campaign ad in which Lincoln pokes fun of Washington and sets herself apart from other members of her party.

The Arkansas Democrat, who already suffers from low approval ratings, recently gained a primary challenger and lost the support of several major labor unions, including the AFL-CIO.  Organized labor has been a friend to President Obama and Democratic incumbents in the past, but has now committed millions of dollars to Lincoln's opponent, Bill Halter.

But that didn't stop her from releasing this ad depicting Washington as a classroom where children run wild throwing cash in the air.  The ad features Lincoln in the center of it all staunchly opposing cap and trade rules and a public option for health insurance reform.  Both are policies backed by the Obama administration.

"The President supports Senator Lincoln who's an incumbent member of the Senate and understands even as he's the head of the Democratic party that not every Democrat is going to agree with him on every issue and he's not going to agree with every other Democrat on their views on every issue," Gibbs told reporters.  "[He] believes that Senator Lincoln is serving her state well and believes that she should be returned for an additional term."

Most recently Lincoln voted for an amendment from Kentucky Republican Senator Jim Bunning that would have paid for a $10 billion one-month extension of unemployment insurance benefits.  The amendment was defeated after Bunning spent days on the Senate floor holding up passage of legislation to extend the benefits package.  He argued that the Senate needed to find a way to pay for the bill before passing it through. Bunning was chastised by his Democratic colleagues in the Senate, as well as Gibbs and Vice President Biden.