Crist welcomes help from Obama

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (D), who is attempting to win back his job this fall, is one Democrat who says he'd be happy to campaign alongside President Obama.

"I hope so," Crist told the Tampa Bay Times when asked about the possibility of appearing with Obama. "I hope everybody does."

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Crist, a former Republican, came under fire from fellow GOPers in 2009 when he hugged Obama at a rally. Crist has staunchly defended the president's signature healthcare law, using current Gov. Rick Scott's (R) refusal to expand Medicaid coverage as a campaign issue.

Crist's full-throated embrace of Obama contrasts with other prominent Democrats locked in high-profile races this fall who appear to be avoiding appearances with Obama.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) said last month that if he were reelected, he would work to be an irritant for the president.

“I’ll be a thorn in his [posterior],” Begich told The Washington Post. “There’s times when I’m a total thorn, you know, and he doesn’t appreciate it.”

Kentucky Senate hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) has repeatedly insisted that she would be an independent voice were she elected to come to Washington, and has appeared at campaign rallies with more popular Democrats — like former President Clinton.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) canceled a scheduled appearance with Obama at a fundraiser in July, remaining in Washington for Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro's confirmation vote. Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) have opted against appearing with the president when he traveled to their home states.

And Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) dodged a question about if he would campaign with the president, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch.

“I’m going to win or lose this race based upon Virginia voters’ assessment of who I am, what kind of job I have done for them as governor, and as senator. I’m not going to predict who is going to campaign when or where,” he said.

White House officials have acknowledged that Obama would not be helpful to Democratic candidates in traditionally conservative states, but say they hope to help those lawmakers through fundraising efforts.

During a speech this January to the Democratic National Committee, Vice President Biden acknowledged the predicament facing the White House.

"I'll come campaign for you or against you, whichever will help you the most," Biden quipped.

Other Democratic gubernatorial candidates, however, including Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, have been more willing to embrace Obama. The Colorado politician grabbed a beer and shot pool with Obama during his swing through Denver earlier this summer.

The Republican Governors Association used that pool game with Obama in an ad released Tuesday against Hickenlooper.