Wednesday, April 23 2014, 09:23 AM MDT
Obama Offers To Stay Away From Some Senate Races
(CNN) -- President Barack Obama told Senate Democrats on Wednesday he'd be willing to stay away from election battles where his presence would not be helpful, a Democratic source said -- an apparent nod to his poll numbers.
Obama's comments came when he and former President Bill Clinton attended the Senate Democrats' issues conference at Nationals Park. Sources at the meeting said Obama assured Democrats that maintaining control of the Senate is his top priority this year.
"I don't remember him (Obama) saying he wouldn't be offended if he wasn't invited (to help campaign), but he certainly acknowledged how low his numbers are in certain states," a source told CNN.
But Obama also noted "they are bad in some states overall," and "that certain people would need him to help in certain parts of those states," that source said.
According to a CNN Poll of Polls compiled on January 27, Obama's approval rating stood at 44%, with 51% of Americans giving a thumbs down to Obama's performance in the White House. The CNN Poll of Polls averages nonpartisan, live operator national surveys.
The number was marginally better than two months before, when they ran at or near all-time lows for Obama. But it's still far below where it stood a year ago, at his second inaugural, when his approval rating stood in the low to mid 50s in most polling.
With a number of vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election this year, sources at Wednesday's meeting said the President vowed to do what he could to support Democratic candidates.
The Democratic caucus currently holds a 55-45 majority in the 100-member chamber, but 21 Democratic-controlled seats are up this year as opposed to only 15 Republican seats. Making matters worse for Democrats is the consensus view that the overwhelming majority of vulnerable seats are currently held by Democrats.
The meeting served as a question-and-answer opportunity between Senate Democrats and the President. Some Democrats up for re-election asked Obama questions, but they focused on substantive topics, largely avoiding politics, according to one source.
"There was amazingly little politics, virtually no politics," said that source, who called the meeting "positive" and "not defensive" on anyone's part.
By Jim Acosta and Dana Bash
CNN's Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
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