The big news story about Rhode Island is that the D candidate said O could "shove" his endorsement ... but then apologized. I think the real story is that Obama demurred to issue an endorsement of the senatorial candidate because the fellow running as an independent supported him (O) in 2008, while the Dem candidate supported Hillary. Obama actually said that was why he was not endorsing anyone. (An apology was later issued for the comment.)
While we agree that for politicians it isn't very much about who is the best candidate, now it is below party affiliation to the ritual "you wash my hands, and I'll wash yours." It would appear obvious that the independent candidate will wax D in DC, though the article did not mention that specifically as is the case with Crist in FL.
In Florida, Clinton's campaign visit managed to encourage people to vote away from the black Dem candidate (Meek) and put support behind former Gov. Crist, so that the R candidate Rubio could not win. There is some controversy as to whether Clinton actually asked Meek to withdraw with the promise of some job in DC (which presumably is not within Billy's power, so must be on directive from the WH). Meek has refused to withdraw, and sort of denies that the offer was made by Billy. Crist has announced that he will caucus with the Ds, and has very much solicited D votes (although he had previously been R).
I can't recall in recent history when a party campaigner has specifically withheld moral support for their party's candidate in a local election. Lord knows both O and Billy have been out there campaigning for other D candidates.
I guess O was being "pressured" into endorsing the RI candidate, otherwise not saying anything would have seemed to be the best way to go. Instead, he had to explain why he was not endorsing anyone.
The Times was unclear as to the exact nature of Billy's campaigning for Meek, except to say that voters they questioned who would normally vote D (for Meek), were now seeing that vote as "wasted" & would be giving their vote to Crist. PA Dems did not seem thrilled about Specter being a "turncoat", and chose Sestak instead. Wonder if any of that spin affects the Florida voters?
Am not commenting here on any of these candidates, as from what I've been reading, none of them are really terrific. I guess I'm more commenting on how very transparent it has become that the politicians are all about themselves and not a whole lot about their constituencies. And, OMG, it seems to have nothing at all to do with who's the best person for the job.