Is President Barack Obama still relevant?
Not according to Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, who recently admitted to the Washington Examiner
that he voted for Obama in 2012 "but that's irrelevant. The president's not relevant. He's gone in two years."
With Obama's popularity at an all-time low, especially in Alaska where only about a third of the population approves of Obama, Begich, like many other Democratic politicians in the mid-term elections, is doing everything he can to get as far away as he can from the president, the Los Angeles Times
"There are people who like the president and people who don't," the Times reported Begich saying. "This race is not about the president. He'll be gone in two years. This is about Alaska. It's about a Senate seat for the next six years. What that other guy wants to do is only make it about the president."
The "other guy" is Republican Dan Sullivan, who is running neck and neck against Begich with a paper-thin 2.2 percent lead, according to RealClearPolitics'
average of polls and who is indeed doing all he can to make the Alaska Senate race all about Obama.
Comic Jon Stewart said on a Daily Show segment entitled "Democalypse 2014": "The president, nobody likes him, everybody hates him, even Democrats are running frantically from Barack Obama, like he was the bad guy in one of those chainsaw massacre movies" for fear of "destroying your campaign by associating it with the leader of your party."
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"How irrelevant is the president? Irrelevant enough that even his own press secretary won't mention him during a spirited defense of the president's relevance," Stewart said.
Asked about Begich's comments in a press conference, Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, without mentioning Obama's name, said, "Sen. Begich is certainly entitled to his opinion, but I think the vast majority of Americans would agree that whoever the sitting president of the U.S. happens to be is relevant in a lot of important ways."
Begich, the Times reported, is taking pains to distance himself from Obama, saying the country needs to "fix" Obamacare and "make it better," and "I couldn't support him on funding the rebels in Syria — couldn't do it."
"Where I disagree with Obama is many places. Obama tried to take away our F-16s in Fairbanks … I disagreed with him," Begich told the Examiner. "He wanted to fund the rebels in Syria. I disagreed with him. He wanted to do the gun control bill. I disagreed with him.
"I've disagreed plenty with Obama, but that's not an issue to me. It's where we are today. It's the next six years. He's gone in two. Whoever's the next U.S. senator will be dealing with a new president. That's the bottom line."
Begich's challenger, Sullivan, keeps tying Begich to votes he cast in support of Obama policies, telling the Times, "I'm hitting [Begich] on his record. I'm hitting him on his votes. I'm hitting him on his lack of pushing back against the Obama administration's overreach in Alaska."
"And that's what an election should be about," the Republican said.
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