Americans are living in an “Obama-Aiken economy,” Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) said in a confrontational debate on Monday night with her Democratic opponent Clay Aiken.
Aiken, best known as a onetime runner-up on American Idol, has never held political office or been in a position to seriously influence economic policy.
The odd remark reflects the second-term congresswoman’s strategy to hold on to the seat by tying her opponent to President Obama. The district leans Republican by 10 percentage points, according to the Cook Political Report. Obama lost it by 16 points in 2012 and 12 points in 2008.
“This Obama-Aiken economy is just killing us,” Ellmers, who is widely favored to win the race, said during the debate.
For the same reason, Aiken has distanced himself from the president. He recently told the New York Times he doesn’t need Obama to campaign for him, and that there are “certainly areas where I disagree with him.”