By Sam Youngman - 08/16/10 10:00 AM EDT
President Obama will try to capitalize on a huge win for the White House in Colorado by aggressively hitting the campaign trail this week.
Obama will make stops in three states where Democratic incumbent senators are in tight races. Democrats hold a 59-41 advantage in the Senate, but Republicans are almost certain to pick up a handful of seats in the upper chamber.
Obama will travel on Monday to California, where Sen.
Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerSenators seek to boost women in international forces Overnight Energy: Senate approves Flint aid | Union chief backs Dakota pipeline White House proxy fight breaks out on Senate floor MORE (D) is in the fight of her life against Republican
Carly Fiorina. The president is scheduled to speak in Los Angeles for a
fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
He’ll also stop over Monday in Wisconsin, where Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold’s race is considered a toss-up. Obama will attend an event for the state’s Democratic Party with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who's running for governor.
On Tuesday, Obama will attend an event in Seattle for Sen. Patty MurrayPatty MurrayDems call for better birth control access for female troops US wins aerospace subsidies trade case over the EU Senate Dems unveil new public option push for ObamaCare MORE (D-Wash.), another incumbent facing a difficult reelection challenge. Republicans have yet to formally nominate a candidate, but Dino Rossi is widely expected to face off against Murray.
All three races are considered toss-ups by The Cook
Political Report. Losses in any of the states would be devastating to
Democrats, who face even steeper challenges in North
Dakota, Delaware and Indiana, where the party is trying to hold on to open
Obama has largely stayed behind the scenes so far this midterm year, raising buckets of money for candidates but doing few appearances.
But the White House appears eager to place Obama in the
role of campaigner in chief after Sen. Michael BennetMichael BennetSenate rivals gear up for debates Grassley pulling away from Dem challenger The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE’s win in Colorado’s
Democratic primary on Tuesday night.
Bennet was appointed to succeed Ken Salazar, who gave up the seat to become secretary of the Interior Department, and the White House was quick to take credit for giving the incumbent senator a victory over challenger Andrew Romanoff, who was supported by former President Clinton.
Obama's senior political adviser, David Axelrod, in an e-mail to The Hill, said Bennet's win “reflected our ability to rally 2008 Obama voters to participate in an off-year election — something that will be meaningful this fall.”
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Friday acknowledged Obama is doing “a hefty amount of political travel” in the coming week.
“I think the president takes that role seriously,” Gibbs said Friday. “And we obviously are getting closer and closer to some very important elections where we'll make some important choices about going backwards or going forwards.”
After months of hand-wringing, Democrats are cautiously
optimistic that last Tuesday's results reflect a midterm election that won't
carry catastrophic losses for the majority party.
“I think if you look at that polling, you see a fairly appreciable change in the enthusiasm gap over the course of several months,” Gibbs said. “I think, quite honestly, the president has pointed out to the American people and others what those choices are: Are we going to take an economic philosophy that got us into this mess and go back to that, or an economic philosophy that is getting out of it?
"And I think that's what the next several months of this election will be about, and I think we’ll do well in November."