Talking to reporters today, White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod was praising the campaign of Massachusetts Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown (" a very clever campaign") and taking a swipe at Democratic nominee Martha Coakley.
When asked by reporters whether the President could have done more to help Coakley, Axelrod took a defensive, accusatory posture:
"The White House did everything we were asked to do," he said. "I think if we had been asked earlier, we would have responded earlier."
What's interesting is that Axelrod knows a thing or two about Massachusetts politics. Axelrod and Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe perfected their strategy for the Obama presidential run on the successful 2006 gubernatorial bid of Obama friend Deval Patrick.
Patrick has been of little help to Coakley, particularly because of his low public approval ratings -- 19 points behind President Obama and 13 points behind Martha Coakley when the special election began. Patrick scored the highest unfavorable rating (47 percent) of any politician presented to voters by Suffolk University pollsters.
But even if Patrick is in the ditch and not campaigning with Coakley, it wouldn't mean that Axelrod would be in the dark about the situation in Massachusetts. He has first hand knowledge of the state and strong ties to the state Democratic machine.
Axelrod suggests that the president didn't want to go where he's not asked for out of defrence to state-level leaders, but Axelrod and the president have not hesitated to get involved in the state process elsewhere, most notably with the move to push New York Gov. David Paterson out of his bid for a full term this fall.