State Races Seen as Obama Referendum

By GOP, that is. If they win. White House, not so much
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2009 7:39 AM CST
President Barack Obama, left, joins New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine during a campaign rally for the incumbent at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009.   (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
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(Newser) – Are today’s elections in New Jersey, Virginia, and New York referendums on President Obama? Let’s ask the experts. Michael Steele says they are. David Axelrod says they're not. Karl Rove says they are. Robert Gibbs says they're not. See a pattern? “Democrats are determined to assert that the elections are not a referendum,” explains Dana Milbank. “This is because they expect to lose.”

Republicans, on the other hand, expect to win, so they’re painting the races as referendums, and much of the press agrees, because whether bellwethers or not, debating the race’s implications is a great way to fill airtime. For the definitive word, we turn to Jeri Thompson, wife of Fred. Asked if it was a referendum she replied, "Well, it definitely may be." That settles it, says Milbank; It's “hard to argue with a definite maybe."