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In a Season of 'Thanks, But No Thanks,' President Obama Welcomed by Michigan Democrats

Michigan Democrats are not shying away from President Obama. He will be in suburban Detroit on Nov. 1, preaching to the choir as he campaigns for the state’s Democratic Party ticket.

Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who is poised for a landslide win over Republican Terri Lynn Land for U.S. Senate, and former congressman Mark Schauer, locked in a surprisingly tight race with GOP Gov. Rick Snyder, are scheduled to join Obama at the rally.

Obama’s visit to Michigan follows campaign rallies for Michigan Democrats featuring first lady Michelle Obama, former Secretary of State and first lady Hillary Clinton, and former President Bill Clinton.

Michigan Republicans called that grandstanding of the worst kind.

Bobby Schostak, chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, said Democrats crafted a plan to bring in national headliners each week for the final month of their campaigns, reaffirming the two candidates couldn’t do it alone.

“Gary Peters and Mark Schauer are clearly more focused on cameras than people. Instead of getting into the community where our families and businesses are, Peters and Schauer would rather stand on stage with Washington politicians who want to paint our state with their one-size-fits-all policy brush,” Schostak said in a statement.

“These aren’t the kind of leaders who acknowledge the progress that’s underway in the Comeback State today, and they certainly won’t continue the trend forward. The bigger the names Democrats bring in, the more we’re reminded how small Gary Peters and Mark Schauer really are,” he added.

It is understandable that Michigan Democrats would want Hillary and Bill by their sides, and even Michelle Obama’s popularity is running high. But President Obama?

Many Democrats running for political office across the nation are putting as much distance as possible between themselves and Obama.

However, Obama told the Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC he is confident Democratic candidates do support him.

“These are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress,” said Obama.

Republicans jumped on Obama’s assertion that a vote for a Democrat on Tuesday would be as good as a vote for his administration’s policies and are using that in attack ads against Democrats.

Obama’s job approval ratings across the U.S. are dismal. The Real Clear Politics average of polling shows 54.6 percent of voters disapprove of his performance in office, while 41.2 percent approve.

However, Obama does much better in Michigan. The Real Clear Politics average showed 45.8 percent of voters in that state approved of his job performance, while 49.5 percent disapproved.

Some polls, including the Republican-leaning Rasmussen Reports survey in October, showed Obama’s approval-disapproval ratings in Michigan were even better than that, tied at 49 percent.

Lon Johnson, the chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, said in a statement the mood is different in his state.

“We are honored to have President Obama come to Michigan and highlight just how much is at stake this November,” Johnson said in a statement.

Still, the Obama and Clinton rallies in Michigan are more about preaching to the choir than proselytizing for new converts.

Schauer and Johnson told a small audience of Democrats in Grand Rapids, Mich. in September that Democrats would win in 2014 if they could only convince the hundreds of thousands of Democratic faithful who stayed home in 2010 to vote Nov. 4.

“There are more of us than there are of them,” Johnson said in Grand Rapids. “All we have to do is get out there and kick ass on Election Day.”

Unless Democrats stay home in droves, Gary Peters doesn’t have much to worry about in his race to fill the Senate seat left vacant by retiring Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich).

Peters has the endorsements of the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press and MLive.com, a media organization that runs eight local newspapers in Michigan and two local digital markets.

Peters also has a huge lead in the polls.

The Real Clear Politics average showed Peters with a 10.1 point lead over Republican Terri Lynn Land Oct. 27, 47.8 percent to 37.7 percent.

Even the latest Rasmussen Reports survey showed Peters with a 9-point lead.

The race for governor in Michigan is a different story. What was supposed to be a cakewalk re-election campaign for Snyder has turned into a marathon with both candidates sprinting for the finish line in the last week of October.

While Snyder has picked up the endorsements of the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press and MLive.com, all three organizations said it was a close call.

The Battle Creek Enquirer also endorsed Snyder.

“It’s true that the governor inspires little enthusiasm from even fellow Republicans, a deficit that might have left him vulnerable to an unapologetic liberal like Mark Schauer,” said the Enquirer’s editorial of support.

“But Snyder has two things that Schauer, a Battle Creek-area Democrat whom we’ve often supported in his political career, doesn’t: a credible plan, and a track record,” it concluded.

Snyder has run on his track record that includes a recovered economy, a steadily dropping unemployment level, and fixing the corruption-riddled, bankrupt city of Detroit.

The Michigan GOP has blasted what little record Schauer has — linked as he was to Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-Mich.) during what the GOP has branded the “Lost Decade.”

The Real Clear Politics average Oct. 27 had Snyder in the lead by 5.2 points.

However, Cathy Bacile Cunningham, the press secretary for Schauer for Governor, said the campaign staff is far from giving up and they have the money to keep fighting.

The latest Schauer campaign finance report, which covered Aug. 26 through Oct. 19, shows that Schauer raised more than $1.6 million and had close to $1.4 million in cash on hand.

“Our campaign is firing on all cylinders, and Mark Schauer is well-positioned to win a hard-fought victory on Nov. 4,” said Cunningham. “No matter how much money Snyder’s billionaire backers spend attacking Mark Schauer, they can’t hide this governor’s record of cutting education and raising taxes on seniors.”