Obama Pulls Strings for 2010 Favorites Behind the scenes, White House is influencing races By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Jan 12, 2010 12:33 PM CST 12 comments Comments Obama's tried to push out David Paterson in the gubernatorial race, and throw his weight behind Kirsten Gillibrand in the Senate race. (AP Photo/Mike Groll) (Newser) – The White House is hard at work behind the scenes to put its preferred candidates in place for the 2010 elections. Obama’s team has quietly leaned on weak candidates to bow out and strong ones to bow in, the Wall Street Journal reports. When John Cherry withdrew from the Michigan gubernatorial race, for example, the White House leapt to recruit Denise Ilitch to replace him. Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Obama hadn’t pushed Cherry out, but hinted the White House was involved in the race. When Chris Dodd retired, Obama put in a personal call to Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, urging him to run. He put in a similar call to John Hickenlooper in the Colorado governor race—a hint to Ken Salazar to stay out. Doesn't always work, though: The White House's stated preference for Kirsten Gillibrand apparently isn't keeping Harold Ford out of the picture in New York.