Making a rare campaign appearance Thursday night in Maine, President Obama said he was “a little wistful” that this would be his last time working to rally voters as president.

“This is the last election cycle in which I’m involved as president ... makes you a little wistful, because I do like campaigning, it’s fun,” Obama said. “As I reflect back on the thing I love most about campaigning, is it reminds me about the American people. Because you get to meet everybody.”


The moment of nostalgia was telling for a president who has been largely sidelined during the 2014 campaign cycle. His appearance Thursday on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud was one of only three public rallies the president has attended this month — none of which have been for federal candidates.

Obama’s remaining schedule will see him stop in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Michigan, but it is only in Detroit that he’ll appear to promote a Democratic Senate candidate: Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.). The schedule is a reflection of his perceived liability for Democratic candidates, many of whom have openly sought distance from the president as his approval ratings have steadily eroded throughout the year.

Earlier Thursday, press secretary Josh Earnest brushed aside questions of whether Obama was disappointed he had not been invited to do more campaign appearances.

“The view that is shared I think by everybody at the White House is that we want to do everything that we can to support candidates up and down the ballot who are interested in advancing economic policies that are in the best interest of middle-class families,” Earnest said. “And there are a variety of ways in which the president himself and his broader campaign team, including those outside the White House, can assist other candidates.”

Pressed if Obama wished he was in the thick of some of the narrow Senate contests, Earnest said he believed “the people of Maine think that they’ve got a pretty competitive governor’s race here.”

On Wednesday, senior presidential adviser Dan Pfeiffer told Bloomberg Politics that “at the end of the day,” Obama was concerned more about his desire to win Democratic races than be on the campaign trail.

“As much as he likes to campaign, he likes to win more,” Pfeiffer said. “And if the best way to win is to — is to be involved in more targeted ways, he’s  we’re happy to do that.”