Ike Skelton skips Obama KC visit

At least one lawmaker was noticeably absent from President Obama's Thursday visit to Smith Electric Vehicles in Kansas City, Mo.

Both sides of Kansas City were represented in Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and Dennis Moore (D-Kan.), but Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), whose district borders the city limits, wasn't there.

Skelton, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, is expected to have a tough reelection race this cycle, and it's possible that appearing with Obama would make it more difficult. The president's approval rating in Missouri was at 40 percent in a recent poll.

Skelton's office said it came down to a scheduling conflict.

"As the details of the president's trip were finalized after the congressman had cemented his schedule, he was attending previously arranged engagements," William Chapman, a spokesman for Skelton, said in an e-mail.

Skelton's perceived vulnerability has drawn a number of Republicans to seek the nomination to face him. Whoever emerges from the crowded field is expected to be competitive against the 17-term incumbent.