White House press secretary Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama may get some credit or blame regarding Democratic fortunes on Nov. 4, but stressed that in the end, the Democratic senators and candidates are responsible for their own campaigns.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest pauses as he answers questions about the government's Ebola response during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Earnest made the assertion one day after Obama told Al Sharpton that even Democratic senators and candidates that are distancing themselves from the president are really on his side
“Each of these candidates will make their own case about what their priorities are,” Earnest said in explaining Obama’s comment. “The president was simply making the observation that he was strongly supportive of candidates that are strongly supportive of policies that benefit middle class families.”
Earnest spent much of the press briefing Tuesday walking a fine line of not tying endangered Democrats too closely to Obama, while not distancing too much.
The Washington Post has given Republicans a 95 percent chance of winning a majority in the Senate, while most other election models favor the GOP by a more modest margin. Still Earnest said Obama and the White House is “not really” making any plans for dealing with a Republican-controlled Senate because the president is confident Democrats will maintain control.
“There are people running in red states that have a strong track record, Democratic candidates who have a strong track record getting elected in their states,” Earnest said. “So, it should be their decision. It’s ultimately their campaign. It’s their name that’s on the ballot.”
Only when pressed further if he was then blaming the Democratic incumbents and challengers for a potential bad election night did Earnest concede there would be blame and credit to go around.
“I’m confident if Democrats are able to hold onto the majority in the United States Senate, there will be plenty of credit to go around,” Earnest said. “I think someone like the president, who has made an aggressive case for the policies that benefit middle class families that so many Democrats support, I’m confident the president will get his fair share of credit. I’m also confident if things don’t turn out as we hope and expect, the president will get at least his share of the blame.”
Earnest stressed that Obama has helped Democratic candidates.
“Ultimately campaigns have to make their own decisions about how they can best benefit from the president’s leadership, whether that is benefiting from money he is raising to support the committees that support their campaigns or whether that is benefiting from technology or other organizational techniques that benefited the president two years ago that benefit Democrat this time,” Earnest said.