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Obama is faring better in Ohio than in many other swing states, but not enough to eliminate any risk of weighing down other Democrats on the ballot. In a Quinnipiac University poll conducted in November, about the same number of Ohio voters approved of Obama as disapproved.

The decision of whether to appear alongside the president at campaign events had dogged other Democrats defending difficult seats in the Senate this cycle.

Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMSNBC's McCaskill: Trump used 'his fat thumbs' to try to intimidate Yovanovitch GOP senator rips into Pelosi at Trump rally: 'It must suck to be that dumb' Iranian attacks expose vulnerability of campaign email accounts MORE (D-Mo.) raised eyebrows when she did not appear with Obama during an October visit to Missouri, where his poll numbers are under water. But McCaskill had a more watertight excuse: Joining Obama would have meant leaving Washington while the Senate was in session, and possibly missing important votes.