Obama And Blanche Lincoln Agree To Disagree, Gibbs Says

Christy Bowe - Globe Photos, Inc./Newscom

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs continued to push the administration’s support for embattled Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) at the White House’s daily briefing with reporters today.

Lincoln has become the focal point of progressive discontent within the Democratic party since Lt. Gov. Bill Halter decided to run against her in the Democratic primary this week. The race has pitted the AFL-CIO, the netroots and other progressive groups backing Halter against the mainstream Democratic establishment, who so far has publicly backed Lincoln. On Monday, Gibbs said the White House is supporting Lincoln, “as an incumbent senator.”

Today, Gibbs went farther, defending Lincoln’s right to take stances that have angered the left.“The president supports senator Lincoln and understands even as he’s the head of the Democratic party he won’t agree with every Democrat on every issue,” Gibbs said. “[Obama] believes that sen. Lincoln is serving her state well and believes she should be returned for an additional term.”

The statement comes after Lincoln launched her first TV ad of the primary, which touts the many times she’s stood outside the Democratic majority over the past year.

Even as she enjoys the support of the Democratic establishment in the White House and the DSCC, Lincoln is running in Arkansas on her willingness to buck party leadership.

“Some in my party didn’t like it very much,” Lincoln says in the new TV ad, referring to her opposition to cap-and-trade, a health care public option and other issues. “But I approved this message because I don’t answer to my party.”