Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal (D) on Tuesday refused to say whether or not he will invite President Barack Obama to campaign on his behalf.

In a speech before the Yale University College Democrats, the state attorney general said it was "an open question" whether or not the president's services will be requested on the trail.

He also would not comment on when asked if the president's appearance would be positive or a negative for his campaign.


“I haven’t presumed to ask. I don’t know whether he would and I don’t know whether we would ask. At this point it is an open question," Blumenthal said, adding that Obama is "someone who I deeply respect and admire," but with whom he has differences.

Blumenthal's remarks could represent an attempt to distance himself from the president in a midterm election climate that is unfavorable for Democrats who currently hold large majorities in the House and Senate.

The attorney general stepped into the race for Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who bowed out of the race last month partly because of low polling numbers. Both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden campaigned for Dodd before he stepped aside. 

A spokesperson for Blumenthal said that the campaign is not attempting to break itself off from the White House but is instead focusing on speaking with Connecticut voters.

Blumenthal is a widely popular public official in the Nutmeg State who is expected to keep the seat, which Democrats once feared could be lost to Republicans, in the Democrats' hands.

He faces Republican challengers former Rep. Rob Simmons and ex-World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, who are running against each other in a primary.

McMahon's campaign, which is running behind Simmons', highlighted Blumenthal's remarks in an e-mail. Republicans are seeking to paint Democrats as increasingly skittish about backing White House policies as an example of their unpopularity.

Obama, however, still enjoys a 53 percent approval rating, according to Gallup.

Blumenthal clashed with the Obama administration on terrorism trials, saying that so-called 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad is "quintessentially an enemy combatant" who should be tried in a military court. 

He said that the alleged Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab should also likely be tried before a military court.

The Obama administration favors civilian trials for terror suspects, but has faced push-back from Republicans and some centrist Democrats who say they should be designated enemy combatants.

“I have been independent of Sen. Dodd and everyone else in Washington,” Blumenthal said.