Fight for Power

Obama Plays Hard Ball in State Races

President Obama and his top White House advisers, including chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, are actively pursuing and aiding their preferred Democratic candidates in state races--a bold course of action most recently seen in New York when Obama asked Gov. David A. Paterson not to seek reelection. The assertive approach towards state races was also used by Karl Rove during the Bush administration, but it’s ruffling the feathers of some Democrats who see this kind of direct involvement as contradictory to Obama’s commitment to transcend partisan politics. On the other hand, notes former Clinton political director Doug Sosnik, “The outcome of governor’s races in 2010 will have a huge impact on political power in the country for the next decade.” In addition to N.Y., Obama’s team has made moves to influence races in Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, N.J., and Pennsylvania with no sign of letting up.