California Democratic chief says Obama will do worse in the state compared to 2008

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California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton said President Obama has failed to justify his policies, and said he would fare worse in the state next year than he did in 2008.

“The biggest challenge is for the administration to make a case of what they’ve done and what they’re going to do,” said Burton, speaking to reporters after a Friday night reception kicking off the opening of the annual party convention. “There should have been a lot more emphasis on what the healthcare plan did for people, and not let Republicans and Fox News convince people it was bad for them when it was good for them.”

Burton, who has met with the Obama campaign, said that if the president did not campaign in the state, he would win it 53% to 47%, and if he engaged here, would win by 56% to 44%. This is a marked drop from his 2008 run, when he routed Sen. John McCain 61% to 37%.

Burton conceded that he was disappointed in some of Obama’s actions, such as the current military intervention in three nations, and said some supporters were disheartened by his failure to follow through on campaign promises from 2008.


“There’s a lot of stuff that was easier said than done,” Burton said. “When he said it he had never been in the White House.”

But Burton, colorful as ever, was confident that Obama could re-energize Democratic supporters who had lost the faith. “The president is a very good salesperson,” he said.

He criticized the president’s staff for reportedly threatening to ban a San Francisco Chronicle reporter for filming protesters who paid tens of thousands of dollars to gain entry to a breakfast fundraiser where they sang a song about the treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning. He has been imprisoned on charges that he leaked information in the WikiLeaks case.

-- Seema Mehta in Sacramento