It’s not strange that President Obama is largely absent from the campaign trail just two weeks before Election Day, the White House insisted Monday, pointing to global crises like Ebola.

“I don’t think it’s weird, given everything that we are trying to manage,” spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters traveling with Obama. “As I think we’ve said now for some time, there’s a lot of significant, complex situations going on both around the world and here at home, and I think a lot of those issues have dominated the president’s time.”


The president’s absence from the campaign trail is seen largely as a reflection of his disappointing approval ratings and the risk he would hurt vulnerable Democratic candidates more than he would help. Candidates in crucial states like Louisiana, Arkansas, Alaska and North Carolina have actively distanced themselves from the president, and Obama so far is only scheduled to appear alongside one congressional candidate before Election Day.

The president on Sunday attended his first campaign events of the midterm cycle, a pair of rallies for Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Illinois and Maryland. On Monday, Obama cast an early ballot at his hometown polling place, went to visit the campaign offices of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and planned to headline a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee.

But the White House indicated that might be the last campaign activity of the week for the president, who returns to Washington on Monday night.

“I think we’ll be in Washington for most of the week,” Schultz said, adding he did not have any updates to previously scheduled campaign activity.

Obama had planned to campaign for Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy last week, but that rally was scrapped after a second Dallas-area nurse was diagnosed with Ebola. Obama still plans to travel to Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Maine in the final days before the election.

“I think you’ll see the president as he did yesterday campaign when he can, but obviously, we’re focused on managing those problems as well,” Schultz said, referencing the president’s work on the Ebola crisis.