Over the holiday weekend Senator Heidi Heitkamp was asked about whether or not she’d like President Barack Obama to campaign for her here in North Dakota this election cycle.
Her response was swift and firm in the negative:
— Rob Port (@robport) September 2, 2018
This is the latest example of Heitkamp doing election year flip-flops on her support for her party’s presidents and presidential candidates.
In 2008 Heitkamp, then eight years removed from a failed gubernatorial campaign and still four years away from the narrow victory which put her in the U.S. Senate, took some time at the Democratic party’s national convention to expound on video about the greatness of then-candidate Barack Obama.
“I’m sure Barack Obama is going to be amazing,” she said in the video (see it here) which was originally posted on YouTube by Chad Nodland, a former blogger who at the time was one of North Dakota’s representatives to the Democratic National Committee. Heitkamp was also effusive in her praise of Hillary Clinton in that video too. Nodland apparently took it in a hotel hallway at the convention.
But by the time 2012 rolled around Heitkamp was trying to win a tough campaign against Republican Rick Berg and had moved so far to the right that the NDGOP jokingly had membership cards printed up for her. Heitkamp was working so hard to distance herself from her party that she chose not to attend the Democratic national convention that year.
When the video linked above was discovered, Nodland fought to expunge it from the internet, removing it from YouTube where he’d uploaded it and threatening legal action against anyone using it.
“If and when I catch people using any of my original material — pictures, video or otherwise — without first at least negotiating a price or asking for permission, whether they use them for their own use on YouTube or elsewhere, I will take any and all action to protect copyrighted material I own,” Nodland told The Daily Caller.
Heitkamp squeaked by in 2012, barely holding on to a U.S. Senate seat that Democrats have controlled for decades, and then promptly voted with President Barack Obama 97 percent of the time during her first year in office. She also signed a letter urging Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016.
Fast forward to the 2016 election cycle, Heitkamp became a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for the White House. Extremely vocal, as you can see in this Republican ad which uses footage of Heitkamp literally shouting her support for Clinton:
But now 2018 is an election year again, and Heitkamp is distancing herself from candidates like Clinton and Obama. Again.
When Heitkamp was asked earlier this year about when Hillary Clinton was going to “ride off into the sunset” she said “not soon enough.”
When asked if she’d like Obama to come to North Dakota to campaign for her, Heitkamp was quick to say no, per the linked story above.
All this sort of makes it seem like Heitkamp tries to create a different version of herself for election years. When she’s not on the ballot, she’s something of a party loyalist. When she is on the ballot, she postures herself as a more independent sort.