Obama to campaign for Massachusetts Democrat

Last Updated: Saturday, January 16, 2010 - 18:21

Boston: US President Barack Obama will campaign in Massachusetts on Sunday for a Senate Democratic candidate facing a tough fight in a race with potential implications for the national healthcare debate.
Obama`s planned visit would follow two appearances by former President Bill Clinton on Friday on behalf of state Attorney-General Martha Coakley, whose campaign for Tuesday`s election is struggling.

U.S. Senator John Kerry and much of the state`s Democratic leadership joined Clinton at a packed rally of party faithful in a downtown Boston hotel.

Some polls show Coakley is behind her Republican opponent, state Senator Scott Brown, in a race for the seat held by the late Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy for almost 47 years.

"I know what`s going on, because I`ve seen this movie before," said Clinton. "This is a massive national effort to discourage progressive independents from voting, and to discourage liberals from voting."

A loss by Coakley could hamper Democrats` ability to pass a healthcare overhaul, Obama`s top domestic priority, and other legislation.

"I think the President believes he can be helpful and is happy to accept the invitation," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Friday. Obama, who issued an email and Web video for Coakley this week, had not planned to personally travel to Massachusetts.

But Democrats have become increasingly anxious about the possibility of losing the race, which would be a huge upset in the liberal New England state.

Massachusetts is usually a reliably Democratic state. Obama carried the state by a wide margin in 2009, and Coakley had held a 30-point lead in the polls last month. Brown has made a strong showing by running a campaign tapping into disaffection about healthcare reform and the state of the national economy.

Bureau Report



First Published: Saturday, January 16, 2010 - 18:21

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