The Outside View of the "Shove It" Flap

In-state, Frank Caprio has been seen as the aggressor for his "Shove It" remark. But outside the state, where the White House political operation is coming under the inevitable fire that accompanies a bad campaign season, the imbroglio is being pinned on the president. Witness this piece on Politico:

Amid the flap over President Barack Obama’s nonendorsement of the Rhode Island Democratic gubernatorial candidate, a pollster for both politicians is defending the White House’s political operation.

On the eve of midterm elections that are expected to bring dramatic losses for Democrats, party activists are angry at the president’s snub of gubernatorial nominee Frank Caprio — a move made in deference to Republican-turned-independent candidate Lincoln Chafee, his onetime Senate colleague and 2008 endorser.

The White House Office of Political Affairs, in particular, has come under friendly fire from Democrats. The New York Daily News reported Wednesday that White House political director Patrick Gaspard's job is on the ropes if, as expected, Tuesday's elections go poorly for Democrats.

Democratic pollster John Anzalone says that would be unfair.

“I am on shaky ground here because I work for both President Obama and Frank Caprio, so I can't comment on the controversy of the last 48 hours,” Anzalone wrote in POLITICO’s Arena. “But one thing I can say with utmost confidence is that there is no more honorable and professional guy to deal with than Patrick Gaspard. He is a real talent, and I think has done more than an admirable job in what has been a tough political environment in the last two years.”

“It is hard to imagine anyone who could have navigated the political minefields better than Gaspard, and I would not want to be the guy who has to fill his shoes when he does decide to leave. I hope he stays.”
Kevin Madden, a former spokesman for 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) suggested in Arena that the only White House employee to blame is Obama himself.

“While staff that got too much credit will now get too much blame, the Democrats' performance at the polls this year will be a judgment on President Obama's wrong policies, President Obama's myopic, partisan approach to governing and President Obama's lack of executive leadership.”

But Victor Kamber, a longtime Democratic consultant, pinned the blame on the White House

“The political operation needs an overhaul, and the president needs to apologize to Democrats and Rhode Island Democrats in particular. If Frank Caprio was some kind of freak candidate that embarrassed the party, I can see the president doing a nonendorsement. He was not; he was a centrist Democrat nominated by the party with an excellent chance of winning. This is another example of a White House gone astray.”

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