The White House disputes a New York Times cover story Monday that President Obama’s political team is considering nationalizing the midterm elections, a strategy that political analysts say could resonate with certain demographics like the African-American community.
CBS News political consultant John Dickerson and Politics365.com’s Charles Ellison discussed the benefits of national and individual midterm races for the White House on Tuesday’s “Washington Unplugged.”
“What they would like to do is run a national campaign that’s a referendum on Obama, but only to certain voter groups,” Dickerson told CBS News’ Nancy Cordes. “It’s difficult in the media environment we live in now to narrow cast anything, but they’re trying to do that.”
Traveling in Ohio, Dickerson has spoken to campaign organizers on the ground.
“In the African-American community, for example, it’s all about Obama, and the argument to them is you have to have his back,” Dickerson said. “These Tea Party activists are coming after the president, and you’ve got to protect him. So in that case, it’s a nationalized message and the names on the ballot in the local elections are incidental.”
“There’s risk in nationalizing a race,” Ellison said, though in agreement that it’s a strategy that may work with black voters.
“African Americans take this very personally,” Ellison said. “Democrats are hoping they can strike that kind of personal chord with black voters.”
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Obama spoke at the Congressional Black Caucus Conference Saturday night, repeating signature catch phrases and metaphors– “If you want your car to go forward, what do you do? You put it in ‘D.’ You want to go backwards, what do you do?”
“It resonated with this audience,” Ellison said. “On some levels, they’re a little bit fired up, they know they have to go back to their districts.” But Ellison also reported that “folks were really worried that night” and that CBC members he spoke with were “not feeling too good about November.”