Politico reported on Friday that Black lawmakers are prodding the White House to get more involved in Florida Senate hopeful Kendrick Meek’s campaign amid growing concern that less-than-robust backing from President Barack Obama will signal to Democrats that it’s all right to help independent Charlie Crist.
But if President Obama does not offer full-throated support for Meek in the Senate race, will that hurt him in ’12 when he is running for re-election?
“If they do not step up their support for Kendrick, then they cannot expect that I and my allies will support them in 2012,” Hastings said, after describing the West Wing’s treatment of Meek as “poor.”
Hastings and Meek were among a cadre of Sunshine State congressional members who worked against Obama in the presidential races and who stayed with Hillary Clinton until long after it was clear she had no path to victory.
Rep. Barbara Lee, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said black lawmakers have made “very clear” to the White House and congressional leaders that black lawmakers expect total support for Meek.
White House officials counter by saying there’s nothing ambiguous about the president’s position: He’s endorsed Meek. And while he’s done some work to shore up a handful of incumbent senators in pricey markets around the country, his campaigning for nonincumbents has been almost non-existent so far.
Meek’s camp, which otherwise declined to comment for this story, confirmed late Friday that a long-promised fundraiser featuring White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will be held Aug. 2 — one of fewer than five he is doing for Senate candidates.
Outside of the CBC, few nationally prominent Democrats have been aggressively supporting Meek, leading members of the caucus to press his case with Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), according to a source familiar with the discussion. Meek was invited to talk to Democratic senators at their weekly luncheon this past week and praised Menendez specifically when he emerged from the room.
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