Skip to content

New Jersey: Steven Rothman Meets With President Barack Obama

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File PhotRep. Steven Rothman just got a big boost.
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File PhotRep. Steven Rothman just got a big boost.

Rep. Steven Rothman just received a big boost.

On the day President Bill Clinton hit the campaign trail for his fellow Democrat and rival, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rothman countered by meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House.

He tweeted soon after he was spotted on the White House grounds.

@SteveRothmanNJ: “President Obama invited me to the Oval Office this AM to express his support for my re-election. Thank you Mr. President!

Update 12:30 p.m.

The Rothman campaign has issued a statement on the Congressman’s morning meeting with Obama. Notably, Rothman did not use the word “endorsement” in describing the president’s support for him in his race against Pascrell.

“President Obama asked me to come to the Oval Office today so that everyone will know that he supports me and wants me to help him with his agenda in his second term, as I have in his first,” said Congressman Rothman. “I sincerely appreciate President Obama’s support at this crucial time. It means the world to me to have him take the time out to speak with me this morning and talk about the important progressive issues I’m fighting for in the Ninth District.”

Because New Jersey lost a seat in redistricting, the two men are battling each other for the state’s 9th district. The Tuesday primary in the Safe Democratic seat will determine the election.

Past is present in this campaign. Rothman was an early supporter of then-Sen. Obama during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. Following a pattern of endorsing loyalists from his wife’s presidential campaign, Clinton recently endorsed Pascrell.

Last week, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod campaigned for Rothman. The Rothman team has stressed repeatedly his proximity to the president in any conversation when discussing high-level endorsements.

Not every endorsement has gone Rothman’s way, however.

His native county’s paper, the Bergen Record, endorsed Pascrell today.  The paper praised Rothman but criticized his initial decision to run in the 9th, even though his house was in the 5th district.

“Neither Pascrell nor Rothman is a poor choice,” the editorial states. “But the fact that Democratic voters must now choose between two incumbent Democrats is a choice of Steve Rothman’s making.”

In other star-crossed county news, Rothman picked up an endorsement Thursday from Pascrell’s hometown mayor.

“Congressman Rothman was the only member of Congress from New Jersey to endorse then-Senator Barack Obama in 2007 and he has helped lead the fight for the President’s agenda over the past three years,” Paterson Mayor Jeffery Jones wrote in a statement. “Many in the Democratic establishment called Steve’s decision political suicide, but I call it courage. Congressman Rothman gets it right the first time.”