White House Won’t Commit To Supporting Historic Senate Candidate


The Washington Blade's Chris Johnson spent some portion of his Thursday trying to get White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to say whether or not Barack Obama intends campaign at all with Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin — a seven-term US legislator and out lesbian, now running for the Senate seat of the retiring Sen. Herb Kohl, also a Democrat. Mr. Carney refused to say.

Esq-tommy-thompson-081412-lgIf Ms. Baldwin wins her race, she'll be the first out gay person ever elected to the US Senate. But it's not going well. Her opponent is Tommy Thompson, who served as Wisconsin's governor from 1987 – 2001, before becoming George W. Bush's Secretary of Health and Human Services for four years. He's gaffe-prone and a little ridiculous, but his name recognition is hard to beat.

From the Blade:

Baldwin appears to be facing [a] tough battle in her race against Thompson because recent polls give him a considerable lead. A poll from Marquette University Law School published Wednesday found Thompson leading Baldwin 50-41, while a Public Policy Poll published the same day gave Thompson a 49-44 lead.

Mr. Carney did give Ms. Baldwin a full and enthusiastic endorsement, but downplayed the historical significance of her race:

“I think [the race is] very significant,” Carney said. “I think what is most significant is that someone qualified like Ms. Baldwin is running for that office and would make an excellent senator if elected.”


  1. Terry says

    I’m an enthusiastic supporter of President Obama, but this just plain sucks. This is inexcusible. Tammy Baldwin WOULD make an outstanding Senator, and having an out lesbian United States Senator would be historic and fantastic. Plus, keeping this seat Democratic would help the Democrats keep their majority in the Senate. I really don’t understand this.

  2. Mike C. says

    It became even harder for Tammy to win after Paul Ryan was named to the ticket. Obama’s gonna be fighting just to keep Wisconsin blue in the electoral college.

  3. Alex Parrish says

    I am a Wisconsin resident and fully support Tammy Baldwin. She’s going to have a tough fight; Thompson has strong support among ultra-conservatives, but he has made plenty of enemies along the way as well. This will be an interesting race to watch. WI lost a great senator — Russ Feingold — in the mid-terms. I hope we can recover our states progressive history with a win for Tammy. Whether or not you find it significant she is part of the LGBT community, she deserves our support as a good legislator.

  4. says

    What a ridiculously misleading headline. Of course president Obama supports his fellow Democrat, Tammy Baldwin, in her bid for the senate. All this story is is that the White House press secretary isn’t sure whether Obama will eventually make a campaign appearance with Baldwin. Which, duh, is not something Carney can promise if he doesn’t know for sure.

    Given the swing state status of Wisconsin, it’s a given that Obama will visit that state for a campaign event again. Whether Baldwin will have her schedule aligned to appear with him is something they will work out.

  5. Not Gon' Do It says

    Baldwin is going to lose whether Obama campaigns for her or not. And it might hurt him in a state that he must win but could very well lose (the polls show, essentially, a tie). Obama is for Obama alone. He will not campaign with or for Baldwin.

  6. says

    President Obama is unlikely to win Wisconsin if he doesn’t campaign here, and if he campaigns here, he’ll appear with Tammy. If he writes Wisconsin off, he won’t. Still, we’re a fairly small state, so we may just get a visit from Joe Biden. I’d like to see Feingold and Kohl cut some TV ads for Tammy, in that they’re both still reasonably popular in the state.

  7. ap says

    The headline is misleading.
    The White House *is* supporting her candidacy, it’s just not committing to campaign for her.

    Enough with the gay Obama hates us hysteria.

  8. says

    Did Matt Drudge take over Towleroad? Is GOProud running Towleroad now? Mitt Romney talks about profiting off Chinese sweatshops, and the headline is “Romney talks about sharing”. The White House press secretary isn’t sure about one detail of Obama’s campaign schedule, and the headline is that Obama won’t support a gay senate Candidate!

  9. johnny says

    I’m a big Obama fan, but I really dislike Carney, he is irritating to the extreme.

    He’s the Dem’s version of Dana Perino and that’s the only woman I’ve ever wanted to slap around in my life.

  10. NealB says

    What a weasel Carney is. And what a louse is Obama for failing to have explicitly stated by now that he would be campaigning side-by-side with Tammy Baldwin against Thompson.

    Obama’s such a tool. Before this I’d decided to hold my nose and vote for him again. But, truly, with his lack of a definitive statement ensuring the continuation of Social Security, as we know it, without lowered retirement age, without indexed benefits, and without his full-throated endorsement and commitment to campaigning with Tammy Baldwin, it’s not a far stretch from being one of the millions that might stay home and kill his chances for reelection.

    I’ve always doubted he gives a rat’s ass. He’s fulfilled his “promise.” He’s set for the next three lifetimes. He is at the pinnacle of the one percent, henceforth, now, and forever. Maybe I’m wrong, but he’s no less hiding the truth about his elitism than he is indifferent about Tammy Baldwin’s election to the Senate.

    Maybe he’ll change his mind.

  11. Icebloo says

    From the comments it seems the White House IS supporting her and they don’t want to turn her into some special case – they are trying to treat her the same as everyone else. Isn’t that what we want ?

    Once again Towleroad tries to find an anti-gay story where there is clearly not any story…..

  12. says

    As others have pointed out, the headline here is completely misleading. Not campaigning with someone and not supporting them are two different things, and clearly Obama is supporting Baldwin. Unnecessarily sloppy reporting.

  13. jason says

    Obama pretends to be on the side of gays in order to curry favor with them. It’s how he gets a lot of money from them. Follow the money trail, folks.

    I’d like any of you to point a pro-gay legislative achievement of his in the last 18 months. Executive order? Anything?

  14. jamal49 says

    The White House doesn’t commit to Tammy Baldwin, then it doesn’t get my vote.

    Barack Obama, don’t wimp out on us now. Your reelection hinges on you not stabbing us in the back.

  15. says

    Sounds to me more like they’re trying not to make it, “ZOMG, this is a race about an out gay senator!” and instead leaving it at, “This is the absolute best person for the job.” She’s got a really tough slog ahead of her, but it is winnable. I imagine he will campaign with her.

    As for wimping out, etc., I think President Obama has demonstrated he has a stainless steel spine. He may not always take the risks we or any other group wants, but he always has a plan and never wilts under the up-and-down of public approval.

  16. boone68 says

    This story is a sensationalistic piece of garbage, and, frankly, it’s no better than “news” found on a Fox News website. The White House does support Baldwin. Give me a break. Wisconsin is in real danger of going completely red this cycle. Maybe Towleroad could do a little less complaining about Obama’s campaign not being “gay” enough and do another story supporting Baldwin. THAT would have value.

  17. Jolyon says

    My opinion: The White House doesn’t want to be seen as proactively campaigning for a candidate who has a good chance of losing. It’s sad, but that’s politics. I will still vote for Obama, tho.

  18. andrew says

    @Jamal49: You will vote for Romney or abstain if the White House re-election folks decide not to actively campaign for Tammy Baldwin? What a moron you must be. The single most important thing in Nov is for the democrats to win the White House. Everything else is secondary.

  19. Justin says

    I think it was a mistake to nominate Baldwin for this senate seat. We are essentially running an experiment to see whether an out lesbian from Madison can get elected to statewide office in Wisconsin. I’d rather keep the senate seat than pat myself on the back for supporting a lesbian who loses.

  20. andrew says

    If I lived in Wisc I would vote for Tammy Baldwin for Senate. Since I live in Pennsyvania, I will vote for the pro life liberal democratic senator Robert Casey . He must drive some of you left wing purists crazy. But he is the reason we were able to defeat the right wing nut Santorum by over 7000,000 votes.

  21. mikeflower says

    Herb Kohl isn’t gay? Since when?

    I don’t really think O cares about the rest of the Democrats. At this stage & it’s dire circumstances it’s “yer on yer own.” O is merely hopeing his election will promote a continuing drift to the right wing as opposed to the “lurch” a Romney election will realise.

  22. Mark says

    Personally I find it aggravating that all the emphasis is on her sexual preference. Where’s the info on what she has accomplished? Or are folks supposed to vote for her because she is lesbian?? If we want true equality – we also need to get out of the bedroom.

  23. jamal49 says

    @ANDREW Beyond your petulant, insulting remark, my answer is: Yes.

    See, either you stand with us and do it proudly with conviction or you’re against us. There, unfortunately, can be no middle ground.

    And, darling Andrew, you are very wrong. This election is about taking control of Congress. THAT is the single most important thing about this election. If the Democrats lose the Senate, if they fail to regain the House or lose more seats in the House, then it will not matter if Mr. Obama gets reelected or not.

    I’d also say any electoral race in any State or municipality that can turn back the tide of republicon, teabatty extremism is important.

    I love you, Andrew, regardless of your immaturity and lack of priorities.

  24. andrew says

    Jamal49: So if Obama doesn’t come out and support Baldwin you will vote for Romney or abstain. I say again you are a moron.: “there, unfortunately, can be no middle ground”. As it happens in politics, most solutions are found in the middle ground. Please don’t call me “darling”, real men don’t talk like that.

  25. aaaack says

    Obama is barely holding on to his own campaign he doesn’t care about someone running for a measly senate position. Politicians could care less about anything but getting money for themselves. Hello