Tags: obama | democrats | party | unity

Obama Struggling to Keep Democrats United

Tuesday, 04 Feb 2014 07:21 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Politically vulnerable Democrats, who are fighting to retain 21 U.S. Senate seats in the 2014 midterm elections, have been distancing themselves from key policies championed by President Barack Obama, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Democrats are uncomfortable with Obama's stance on trade tariffs, his failure to act on the Keystone XL pipeline, the healthcare rollout, Iran sanctions, the NSA eavesdropping, and even on the question of Louisiana flood insurance.

There is also sentiment that the president has not been sufficiently diligent in raising money for the Democratic senatorial campaign war chest.

Republicans need to pick up just six seats to take control of the Senate. The GOP is widely expected to retain control of the House.

Vulnerable Democrats in purple states are staking out positions that show their independence from the White House,  The Hill reported.

"In order to win in states that are swing or purple, you have to demonstrate you have some independence from the national party," explained Democratic strategist Doug Thornell.

Democratic operatives also contend that there is more that unites Democrats in the senate to the White House than divides them, pointing to the example of extending unemployment benefits, according to the Journal.

Obama continues to be a big plus in Democratic fundraising efforts, but is reportedly not scheduling enough fundraising time in advance of the party's 2014 campaign, the Hill reported.

The president met on Monday in the Oval Office with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil. A delegation of House Democrats will be visiting the White House on Tuesday. And on Wednesday, the president will speak to Democratic senators at their Washington Nationals stadium retreat.

"He's going to have to say some things that get rid of some of the consternation there. I think the State of the Union address was a good start, but it's not enough," a Democratic insider told the Hill.

Thornell believes voters are prepared to tolerate the "back-and-forth between the parties, but what they don't like is internal fighting. Democrats need to show they're united in order to have a good election year in 2014."

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