With presidential nominee Donald Trump becoming a weight on down-ballot Republicans, they’re tying themselves to an unlikely leader: President Barack Obama.
On Monday, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, released three radio ads with African-American pastors from across the state talking about his bill to help former prisoners with education and job training.
Each of the ads also says “Rob Portman authored a bipartisan law signed by President Obama to break the grip of heroin addiction.”
Using African-American pastors and talking about criminal justice reform is a clear appeal for black voters, a traditionally Democratic voting bloc.
The ads come despite Portman holding a double-digit lead in polls over his Democratic opponent, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, and the opioid and heroin epidemic is often seen as a white epidemic.
In California, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, who has found himself in a surprisingly tight race against retired Col. Doug Applegate, released a campaign mailer praising Obama for signing a Survivors’ Bill of Rights.
The mailer features Obama with a small image of Issa, who has long been a critic of the administration on everything from including birth control in health insurance coverage, to the Benghazi attack in 2012.
But Obama pushed back during a fundraising event in La Jolla, California where Applegate was in attendance, saying “that is is the definition of chutzpah.”
“Here’s a guy who called my administration perhaps the most corrupt in history — despite the fact that actually we have not had a major scandal in my administration,” Obama said, calling Issa “Trump before Trump.”