News Column

No Obama? No Problem for Elizabeth Warren

Oct. 24, 2012

Hillary Chabot and O'Ryan Johnson

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren is likely to be stood up on the campaign trail by her most prominent supporter, President Obama, as he scrambles to woo voters in swing states -- and some argue she may not even want him here as she strives to shed her partisan image.

"I don't see the benefit of bringing Obama here for her, and there could be a downside," said Robert Shapiro, a political science professor at Columbia University. "It gives her a little bit of distance she needs to clinch those independents."

Warren all but confirmed yesterday that Obama won't be making the rounds for her in the Bay State, even though the president is set to be in New Hampshire this weekend.

"I think right now he's spending a lot of time in Ohio and New Hampshire and Florida, and that's what he ought to be doing," she said. Warren likely won't be getting help from first lady Michelle Obama, either. She'll be in the state Oct. 30 but is unlikely to campaign for the Harvard Law professor.

But she did not believe that a late Obama visit would hurt her with Bay State independents. "Are you kidding? I love President Obama, that's not an issue. But President Obama should be where the battleground states are for him," she said. "It's the right thing for him to be doing."

Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos said U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and Warren are vying for a small group of undecided, unenrolled Bay Staters to clinch the race.

"Independents have to be the focus of both campaigns because the way the numbers break," he said. "Brown has to win basically 2-to-1 among independents, if he gets less than 60 percent of independents, he'll lose."

So Brown, who has no plans to campaign with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has strived to cast himself as the bipartisan while painting Warren as someone who will vote in lockstep with Obama.

"The next weeks are going to be key, and the pressure is on the campaigns to broaden their message," Paleologos said. "Obama wouldn't help Warren with independents in the key areas of Worcester and Essex County."

Local Democrats suggested that an Obama visit wasn't necessary, unlike in 2010 when the president came to try and rescue Attorney General Martha Coakley's failing campaign against Brown.

Said Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh: "I don't think she needs help getting crowds. I don't think there is any downside to him not coming."

Source: (c)2012 the Boston Herald. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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