President Obama on Thursday suggested that a vote for Democrats this November is a vote for his agenda -- a message that one embattled Republican is already using against the president's party.
"Trillions in new debt, Obamacare, nearly 10 million Americans unemployed," a narrator says ominously over the new ad for Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas.
"Obama's candidate for Senate in Kansas? Greg Orman. A vote for Greg Orman is a vote for the Obama agenda."
The ad features a clip from the speech Mr. Obama delivered Thursday in Chicago: "I am not on the ballot this fall. Michelle's pretty happy about that," the president said. "But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them. This isn't some official campaign speech or political speech, and I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, although I suppose it is kind of implied."
- Obama suggests midterms will "set the stage for America's greatness"
- Independent candidate threatens to upset GOP hold in Kansas
The Senate race in the deep-red state of Kansas became unexpectedly competitive when the Democratic Party decided to pull its candidate from the ballot, leaving independent Greg Orman as Roberts' main challenger.
Orman's campaign has largely focused on the promise that he won't answer to either party. His pitch may be working: A Suffolk University poll released this week showed Orman leading Roberts, 46 percent to 41 percent.
But now that Roberts has a real race on his hands, he and his Republican allies are mobilizing a stronger campaigner. Portraying Orman as an Obama ally could be an effective strategy -- a new Gallup report shows that Kansans' approval rating of Mr. Obama is among the lowest in the nation. Just 32 percent of Kansans approved of Mr. Obama's performance over the first half of 2014, 11 points below the national average.