Politico: Black lawmakers are prodding the White House to get more involved in Florida Senate hopeful Kendrick Meek's campaign amid growing concern that less-than-robust backing from President Barack Obama will signal to Democrats that it’s all right to help independent Charlie Crist.
Rep. Alcee Hastings, a black Florida Democrat, told POLITICO Thursday that he might not work for Obama's re-election if the president doesn't get into gear for Meek — a four-term House member seeking to become the first black candidate elected to the Senate since President Obama won in Illinois in 2004.
"If they do not step up their support for Kendrick, then they cannot expect that I and my allies will support them in 2012," Hastings said, after describing the West Wing's treatment of Meek as "poor."
Hastings and Meek were among a cadre of Sunshine State congressmembers who worked against Obama in the presidential races and who stayed with Hillary Clinton until long after it was clear she had no path to victory.
Rep. Barbara Lee, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said African American lawmakers have made "very clear" to the White House and congressional leaders that black lawmakers expect total support for Meek.
White House officials counter by saying there’s nothing ambiguous about the president’s position: He’s endorsed Meek. And while he's done some work to shore up a handful of incumbent senators in pricy markets around the country, his campaigning for non-incumbents has been almost non-existent so far.
Meek's camp, which otherwise declined to comment for this story, confirmed late Friday that a long-promised fundraiser featuring White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will be held on August 2 – one of fewer than five he's doing for Senate candidates.
Full story here.