2014-01-31T103952Z_3_CBREA0U0GU300_RTROPTP_2_USA

As Senate campaigns begin, some Democrats flee Obama

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) speaks to reporters after the Democratic weekly policy luncheon on Capitol HillBy John Whitesides WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Spooked by President Barack Obama’s low approval ratings, some of his fellow Democrats in tough November election races have begun their campaigns by distancing themselves from the White House and asserting their independence from Obama’s policies. In what amounts to a survival-first strategy among embattled Democrats crucial to the party’s effort to keep control of the Senate, some candidates in conservative states Obama lost in 2012 are aggressively criticizing his healthcare, energy and regulatory policies. The group includes three incumbent senators, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska, as well as Natalie Tennant, who is seeking to replace retiring Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia.

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