If the Massachusetts special election was a kick in the shins for President Barack Obama, the political turmoil in Illinois, his home state, is a pain in the neck that never seems to go away.
His former Senate seat, already stained by an ethics scandal, is a major takeover target for Republicans. So is the governor's office.
Going into Tuesday's Illinois primary, the first of the 2010 campaign season, Democrats are in disarray, with no political heavyweights in their lineup for the Senate seat that Obama gave up for the White House.
Losing it would be a bigger personal embarrassment for the president than Republican Scott Brown's upset victory in Massachusetts, which took away the late Edward M. Kennedy's Senate seat.
The nation cannot afford the spending Democrats have enacted or the tax increases they propose, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Wednesday in the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.
McDonnell told a cheering crowd of supporters in Richmond, Va., that Democratic policies are resulting in an unsustainable level of debt. He said Americans want affordable health care, but they don't want the government to run it.
"Today, the federal government is simply trying to do too much," McDonnell said. "In the past year, more than 3 million Americans have lost their jobs, yet the Democratic Congress continues deficit spending, adding to the bureaucracy, and increasing the national debt on our children and grandchildren."
A year to the day after his inauguration, Barack Obama and his Democratic allies are suddenly scrambling to save his signature health care overhaul and somehow rediscover their political magic after an epic loss in the Massachusetts Senate race.
Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to beat Democrat Martha Coakley. The loss was a stunning embarrassment for the White House. It also signaled big political problems for the president's party this fall when House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates are on the ballot nationwide.
Brown's victory was so sweeping, he even won in the Cape Cod community where Sen. Edward Kennedy, the longtime liberal icon, died of brain cancer last August.
In an epic upset in liberal Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to defeat Democrat Martha Coakley in a U.S. Senate election Tuesday that left President Barack Obama's health care overhaul in doubt and marred the end of his first year in office.
The loss by the once-favored Coakley for the seat that the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy held for nearly half a century signaled big political problems for the president's party this fall when House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates are on the ballot nationwide.
More immediately, Brown will become the 41st Republican in the 100-member Senate, which could allow the GOP to block the president's health care legislation and the rest of Obama's agenda. Democrats needed Coakley to win for a 60th vote to thwart Republican filibusters.
Democratic fingerpointing began more than a week ago as polls started showing a tight race, with the White House accusing Coakley of a poor campaign and the Coakley camp laying at some of the blame on the administration. Obama flew to Boston for last-ditch personal campaigning on Sunday.
This isn't what Democrats had in mind. The race to fill the late Edward Kennedy's Senate seat in liberal Massachusetts neared its conclusion with not only its outcome but also the fate of President Obama's agenda in question.
A win by Republican Scott Brown on Tuesday would eliminate Democrats' 60-seat supermajority in the Senate and imperil some of Obama's key legislative objectives, including an overhaul of health care — a longtime cause of Kennedy's.
The swift rise of Brown, a relatively low-profile Republican state senator, in his race against Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley has spooked Democrats who had considered the seat one of their most reliable.
Democrats and Republicans ramped up election eve get-out-the-vote efforts in their close battle for a Massachusetts Senate seat that could decide the fate of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and the rest of his agenda at the opening of the 2010 midterm campaign season.
Obama needs newly embattled Martha Coakley to win Tuesday's special election for the late Edward Kennedy's Senate seat and deny Republicans the ability to block his initiatives with a 41st filibuster-sustaining GOP vote.
The president campaigned here Sunday with Coakley, who has seen the double-digit lead she had two weeks ago evaporate under a strong challenge by Republican state Sen. Scott Brown.
Republican Scott Brown is surfing a wave of voter frustration with President Barack Obama that has helped propel the once low-profile Massachusetts state senator from long shot to contender in the race to fill the Senate seat left vacant by Edward Kennedy's death.
Brown's meteoric rise caught nearly everyone off-guard, particularly Democratic Party leaders who assumed their candidate, state Attorney General Martha Coakley, would have a cakewalk to the U.S. Capitol after winning a four-way primary in November.
They hadn't counted on voters like Luis Rodriguez.
His agenda potentially imperiled by the outcome of a close U.S. Senate race, President Barack Obama focused his attention and prestige Sunday on Massachusetts Democrat Martha Coakley, whose bid to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has gone from shoo-in to nail-biter.
Obama planned to join Coakley at a Sunday afternoon rally at Northeastern University in Boston as the race entered the final stretch.
It was the latest and highest profile assist for Coakley, the state attorney general facing a strong challenge from Scott Brown, a Republican state senator.
A new poll in the Massachusetts Senate race shows a shift in favor of the Republican Party and a potential disaster for President Barack Obama and his Democratic political agenda in Tuesday's special election.
The Suffolk University survey released late Thursday showed Scott Brown, a Republican state senator, with 50 percent of the vote in the race to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in this overwhelmingly Democratic state.
Democrat Martha Coakley had 46 percent. That was a statistical tie since it was within the poll's 4.4 percentage point margin of error, but far different from a 15-point lead the Massachusetts attorney general enjoyed in a Boston Globe survey released over the weekend.
The Republican Party's national chairman says he's had no thoughts of resigning despite criticism of his first-year performance and controversy about his recent book that takes shots at the GOP.
Michael Steele is apologizing for not alerting Republicans in advance about the book's release. In the book, he accuses GOP leaders of abandoning conservative principles over the past decade.
Steele also is defending his record as party chairman, saying he's "pushing the ball" for the GOP and helping the party win elections and raise money.