Republicans have been working to nationalize House and Senate races all cycle, and now they’re using President Obama’s own comments to make the argument for them.
Sens. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer tees up key Thursday vote on debt deal House approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike Senate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale MORE (R-Ky.) and Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsBob Dole: heroic, prickly and effective McConnell gets GOP wake-up call Bob Dole, Pat Roberts endorse Kansas AG Derek Schmidt for governor MORE (R-Kan.), and New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown have all launched ads and Web videos featuring Obama’s proclamation that, “I'm not on the ballot ... but make no mistake, these policies are on the ballot, every one of them.”
The ads tell voters that, as much as their Democratic opponents want to convince them otherwise, their vote this fall is one for or against the president and the Democratic Party’s agenda.
The McConnell ad notes that “Alison [Lundergan] Grimes [D] says this election is not about her support for Barack Obama and his failed polices,” over a clip from a Grimes campaign ad that was meant to distance her from the president and featured the candidate shooting a gun.
“But Obama himself says a vote for Alison is a vote for his policies,” a narrator ads, before the Obama clip plays.
On-screen text reads: “The war on coal, ObamaCare, massive spending and debt.”
The Roberts ad hits on the same theme, opening by highlighting “trillions in debt …ObamaCare” and steep unemployment, before shifting to Obama’s comments. The ad declares independent Greg Orman, who is leading Roberts in the polls, is “Obama’s candidate for Senate in Kansas.”
“A vote for Greg Orman is a vote for the Obama agenda,” the ad concludes.
The Brown video opens with a clip of the candidate at a campaign event during which he says “we need to send a message” to Obama’s “number one footsoldier,” Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenBiden tries to tamp down tensions with Putin call Biden administration resists tougher Russia sanctions in Congress GOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions MORE (D-N.H.), and then cuts to Obama’s comments.
Obama made the comments during a Thursday address on the economy at Northwestern University meant to make the case that Americans are better off now than they were six years ago.
But the president's job approval was at 42 percent nationwide in the most recent Gallup survey, and it's much lower in the key battleground states where control of the Senate will be won or lost. Democrats' midterm strategy has hinged on their ability to localize their races and make the debate one between two individual candidates and their records, rather than Obama and the Democratic Party more broadly.
Republicans believe that in 13 words, he undermined that argument entirely.