The White House has announced that President Obama will travel to Massachusetts Sunday to campaign for the Democratic Senate candidate, state attorney general Martha Coakley.
The decision is a clear indication that Democrats are worried about Coakley's chances of holding on to the Senate seat Ted Kennedy occupied for 47 years, in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 3-to-1 margin.
Coakley is squaring off against Republican state Sen. Scott Brown in Tuesday’s special election. Recent polling shows a tight race and analysts are calling it a toss-up as the candidates head into the final weekend.
The presidential visit to Boston will be interpreted as a sign of desperation and significant concern that Democrats are going to lose a critical Senate seat in one of the most Democratic states in the nation. Democrats say President Obama is still popular with the independent voters Coakley needs to win -- almost as popular with them as he was on Election Day.
President Obama taped a robo-call going out to Massachusetts voters today, funded by the Democratic National Committee.
“I rarely make these,” he says in his pitch for the Democratic candidate. “But I had to talk to you about the election in Massachusetts on Tuesday because the stakes are so high.”
Obama also recorded a video message on Coakley’s behalf and in it he makes it clear that the outcome of this race will have a big impact on the legislative battles in Washington, because losing one seat means losing that magic number of 60 votes in the Senate.
UPDATE: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs took a shot at Brown from the podium, saying he "feels comfortable fighting for the insurance industry and big banks." He described the special election as "a referendum on who's side are you on," not on President Obama.