Post-2008, Obama does not have a good record of bringing home the vote for candidates for whom he stumps.
This appears to be repeating itself in Rhode Island.
As I posted early this morning, Obama is in Rhode Island campaigning for David Cicilline, the Democratic nominee in the RI-01 congressional race against Republican John Loughlin.
Not long after my post went live, the Democratic nominee for Governor, Frank Caprio, was informed during a radio interview that Obama would not be endorsing Caprio, out of allegiance to Independent candidate Linc Chafee, who had endorsed Obama in 2008.
Caprio’s reaction now is classic:
“He can take his endorsement and really shove it”, Caprio told John Depetro and the WPRO morning news. Caprio told WPRO he did not seek the President’s endorsement and calls the snub Washington politics.
“We had one of the worst floods in the history of the United States a few months back and President Obama didn’t even do a fly over of Rhode Island. He ignored us and now he’s coming into Rhode Island and treating us like an ATM machine”, said Caprio.
It will be interesting to see if this outburst helps or hurts Caprio. But one thing is clear, the controversy will help Loughlin.
Cicilline is not a beloved figure in Rhode Island. He is viewed as a real political inside player, and bringing Obama in widely was viewed as an act of desperation in a suprisingly close race.
Caprio is a more traditional Rhode Island Democrat. His father was a well-known judge.
Cicilline inevitably will be blamed, at least in part, for Obama’s move. An Obama-Caprio fight will hurt Cicilline because many Caprio Democrats will make protest votes against Obama and Cicilline.
What started out as a major coup for Cicilline may have just handed the election to John Loughlin.