That was then.
It was only a few short years ago that all of Virginia's Democrats couldn't get close enough to Mr. Messiah. When his poll numbers were sky-high.
In tight Virginia races, Democrats cutting ties to ObamaAnd it's only going to get worse ...
By Anita Kumar, Washington Post
Rocky Mount, Va. — Three years ago, Democrats in Virginia couldn’t get enough of Barack Obama — a popular, transformational figure running for his first term as president.
But as Obama arrives in Virginia Tuesday for a two-day swing to promote parts of his jobs plan, some Democrats are distancing themselves from him — even in supposedly blue Northern Virginia.
Less than a month before critical legislative elections, several Democratic legislators say they have reservations about the president and will not commit to supporting him next year. At least one longtime state senator has announced he will not vote for Obama in 2012.
“He’s frustrating me, just like he’s frustrating others out there,’’ said Sen. Linda T. “Toddy” Puller, a Democrat who faces Republican Jeff Frederick in a tough reelection campaign in Fairfax and Prince William counties.
House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong (D), who is fighting for reelection after Republicans eliminated his district during redistricting, released a TV ad in response to an attempt by his Republican opponent, Del. Charles D. Poindexter, to tie him to Obama in the Southside district.
In the ad, Armstrong dismisses the notion. “That’s a stretch, Charles. I’m pro-life, pro-gun, and I always put Virginia first.”
Even before the president’s trip was announced, Republicans in Virginia had been tightening the screws, aggressively challenging Democrats’ hold on the state Senate in part by tying them to the president. Recent polls and interviews with voters show that Republicans may have had some success.
“The last thing they want to do is be tied to the hip of an unpopular president,’’ Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) said. “If he wanted to help these Democrats, he would stay far away from Virginia. They’re trying to save their skin.”
Obama began a three-day bus tour Monday in North Carolina and will continue Tuesday and Wednesday in Virginia — two critical swing states he carried in 2008 that remain just as important in 2012.
The White House had considered stops in Danville, Newport News, Charlottesville and Fredericksburg. But prominent Democrats in Virginia — where Obama’s approval rating hovers around 50 percent — encouraged the White House to alter the schedule so he would no longer visit districts where members of his party were involved in tight elections.
State Sen. George L. Barker (D-Fairfax), who is in danger of losing his seat, said Republicans who supported him in 2007 have told him they will not vote for him because of Obama.
“Clearly, I’m going to lose some Republicans who would have otherwise voted for me,’’ he said.
en. Phillip P. Puckett (D-Russell), who faces a tough reelection battle in Southwest against Republican Adam Light, became the first Democratic legislator in the state to say he would not be supporting Obama in 2012.
Puckett made his comments last month after Republicans put up billboards in his rural district showing him campaigning for Obama in 2008.
“It’s very clear to me that the administration does not support the coal industry in a way that’s beneficial to our area,’’ he said in a taped TV interview. “So, I don’t plan to support President Obama for reelection.’’
In an interview with The Washington Post, Armstrong declined to say whether he would support Obama next year.
“I am who I am and I am for what I stand for,’’ he said. “I am interested in being the best delegate that I can be in Richmond. I’m about a race that’s going on in 2011; 2012 will be 2012.”
Sen. William Roscoe Reynolds (D-Franklin), Sen. R. Edward Houck (D- Spotsylvania), Barker and Puller also declined to say if they would vote for Obama next year. [link]