For a president once mocked by his critics as little more than a celebrity, it was the ultimate indignity: Scores of people left a packed campaign rally Sunday before President Obama finished speaking.
It wasn't immediately clear why, according to Reuters, "a steady stream of people" departed the event held for Maryland's Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Anthony Brown. Reporters guessed they just wanted a photo of the president, or they wanted to beat the inevitable traffic jam caused by the 8,000 some-odd people who stayed. Perhaps those who departed a rally held just outside the Beltway suddenly realized they had heard Obama's stump speech a dozen times before.
Whatever the reason, the conjured image was a sad one for the president, whose approval rating is stuck in the low 40s and who is already a surrogate non grata for many of his party's candidates. At a moment when a popular president would be crisscrossing the country in the midterm campaign's final stretch, Obama's schedule this week is actually rather light. He's casting an early vote in Chicago on Monday ahead of an afternoon fundraiser, and after that the only event on his public calendar for the rest of the week is another fundraiser in Washington.