As President Obama's approval ratings sag and the mood of voters sours, some Democratic congressional candidates are distancing themselves from the White House, with the back-channel blessing of party officials.
The candidates are positioning themselves as independent voices no less frustrated with the Obama administration than people back home.
Rep. Dennis Cardoza, a Democrat who represents a California Central Valley district burdened by high unemployment and home foreclosures, said in an interview: "The Obama administration has failed miserably in trying to solve the problem."
Rep. Jim Costa, a Democrat who also represents California's Central Valley, blames Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for not doing enough to alleviate a drought that has hobbled farmers. Costa said his phone calls to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have gone unreturned.
"They're not listening carefully enough to the people I represent," Costa said.
Asked whether he wants the president to campaign for him, Costa said: "I'm more popular in my district than the president." (continue reading here)