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Obama Has No Plans to Campaign for Coakley

President Barack Obama has no plans to campaign for Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) in the Jan. 19 Senate special election race, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.The race to fill the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s seat (D-Mass.) has tightened and become more competitive than expected in the Democratic-dominated state. Recent polls have been inconsistent about how close Republican Scott Brown is to Coakley, who has been the overwhelming frontrunner in the race. One automated poll done by a Democratic firm showed Coakley and Brown in a dead heat, but an independent survey had Coakley with a double-digit lead.An internal Democratic poll that was leaked Monday seemed to reinforce the notion that Brown is not yet within striking distance. The survey showed Coakley ahead 50 percent to 36 percent.Gibbs would give no explanation of why Obama is not planning to travel to the state, nor would he comment on whether Obama has been invited — or asked to stay away — by the Coakley campaign, or if his lagging popularity ratings have anything to do with the decision.The Jan. 7-9 poll by Public Policy Polling, which showed Brown and Coakley statistically tied, also found that those planning to vote oppose the Obama-backed health care plan 47 percent to 41 percent and approve of his job performance by only a 1-point margin, 44 percent to 43 percent.

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