Red State Democrats Critical of Obama After SOTU

Wednesday, 29 Jan 2014 08:01 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Democrats in Republican-leaning states chose to distance themselves from President Barack Obama following his State of the Union Address Tuesday in a sign they believe that association with the president could be a liability for their campaigns in 2014.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, considered to be one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for re-election this year, issued a statement criticizing the president's comments on energy.

"I was disappointed I didn't hear what Alaskans wanted from the President tonight. While the president delivered a lot of sound bites that may sound good in a speech, we need to hear a clear plan and commitment to economic growth. Specifically, the President missed his chance to talk about national energy security in any meaningful way," he said, according to The Hill.

"The president said he wants to focus on 'fuels of the future' but we should be focusing on the fuels we can develop right now—and that's Alaska oil and gas."

Begich, who faces a tough race against whoever wins the GOP nomination, has already distanced himself from the president as an outspoken critic of Obamacare.

West Virginia Senate candidate Natalie Tennant also slammed Obama's comments about energy in the speech. The Democratic secretary of state is currently the underdog in the race against likely GOP nominee Rep. Shelley Moore Capito.

"If the president wants to promote opportunity, he needs to rethink his energy policies. The President is wrong on coal and I will fight him or anyone else who wants to take our coal jobs," Tennant said in a statement, according to The Hill.

Meanwhile, Montana senate candidate John Walsh challenged Obama on the NSA's surveillance programs, among other issues.

"Like most Montanans, I believe the president must do more to protect law-abiding citizens and end the NSA's surveillance program. As leaders, we must have the courage to responsibly cut our debt, cut spending and live up to the promises made to America's veterans," said the Democratic lieutenant governor, according to The Hill.

Walsh is facing an uphill battle against Rep. Steve Daines for an open seat.

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