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Bill Clinton to give election pep talk to Senate Democrats

February 05, 2014|By Lisa Mascaro
  • President Clinton speaks at a CGI Clinton Global Initiative Latin America event last year.
President Clinton speaks at a CGI Clinton Global Initiative Latin America… (Silvia Izquierdo / AP )

WASHINGTON--Many Senate Democrats facing tough reelection battles this fall aren't welcoming President Obama to the campaign trail, given his low approval ratings.

But Wednesday night they'll roll out the red carpet for former President Clinton, hoping the Comeback Kid can offer some tips for the upcoming midterms.

Clinton is delivering the dinnertime keynote talk at the Senate Democrats' retreat Wednesday in what is likely to be part strategy session, part pep talk as the former president's party engages in an uphill struggle to retain control of the Senate this fall.

Many of the senators in the closest races are those red state and Southern Democrats whose fate could make or break the party's hold on the upper chamber. Voters may respond more heartily to an appeal from Clinton than from the current president, especially as Democrats struggle to turn voter attitudes on the healthcare law.

Not that Obama has been sidelined. The president is addressing Democrats during an afternoon talk during their daylong retreat. And Obama welcomed all the House Democrats earlier this week to the White House, where they talked about Democratic priorities -- raising the minimum wage, overhauling immigration laws -- before schmoozing for a social hour.

Wednesday's Senate retreat is being held at Washington's Nationals Park, home to the city's beloved baseball team, which has been embraced by many lawmakers as second only to their own home state teams. The Nationals entered last season with great promise after making the playoffs the previous year, only to end 2013 in heartache for fans.

Democrats are hoping they will enjoy a better outcome this fall.

lisa.mascaro@latimes.com

Twitter: @lisamascaroinDC

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