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(Reuters) - President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, but early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity.
With approval levels hovering around record lows, Obama has spent most of his campaign-related efforts this year raising money for struggling Democrats, who risk losing control of the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 4 midterm election.
Most candidates from his party have been wary of appearing with him during their election races because of his sagging popularity.
Not so Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown of Maryland, who is running for governor, and Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois, who is running for re-election. Obama plans to appear at an event for Quinn later in the evening.
"You've got to vote," Obama repeated over and over at a rally for Brown in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, near Washington.
Democrats have a history of not turning up to vote in midterm elections.
"There are no excuses. The future is up to us," Obama said.
A steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke, however, and a heckler interrupted his remarks.
Obama's help, or lack thereof, may not matter much to Brown, who is 11 points ahead of Republican opponent Larry Hogan, according to an average of polls by RealClearPolitics.
Quinn's race is tighter. He is ahead of Republican opponent Bruce Rauner by 1.8 points, according to the RealClearPolitics average.
Obama is scheduled to spend the night at his Chicago home after the campaign event for Quinn.
but early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity
President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland
He most definitely does. He has caved into Republicans and sold out his own people all the time. One media storm over a white house intruder and he threw out the secret service director who had served for decades under multiple presidents.
Yes, they got rid of her over that, yet they kept Lois Lerner with the outrageous IRS scandal
In a new book, “Politics Is a Joke!” three academics tabulated 100,000 jokes told by late-night comics over the last 20 years. They found that in 2008 only 6% of the jokes were about Obama (Palin attracted nearly as many jokes in four months as a public figure as he did all year). And those jokes had a tendency to be about as barbed as cotton candy. Example cited by Tevi Troy in The Wall Street Journal: Jon Stewart said Obama visited Bethlehem so he could see “the manger where he was born.”
In every presidential campaign since 1992, the researchers found, comedians aimed more jokes at Republicans than they did at Democrats. Overall, twice as many barbs flew at the GOP.
Now that he has retired from the show and gained a little perspective, Downey comments in “Live from New York,” “I have to say, and even [Al] Franken agrees with me — I’ve talked to him about this — that the last couple seasons of the show were the only two in the show’s history where we were totally like every other comedy show: basically, an arm of the Hollywood Democratic establishment. . . . We just stopped doing anything which could even be misinterpreted as a criticism of Obama.”