Political analyst examines U.S. President endorsement of Sen. Brian Schatz

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Mar 31 2014 07:01:01 PM HST
Updated On: Mar 31 2014 08:11:52 PM HST

An endorsement by the country's Commander in Chief today is giving Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz a boost just as he releases his first campaign ad.

HONOLULU -

An endorsement by the United States' Commander in Chief Monday is giving Hawaii U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz a shot in the arm. This occurred as he released his first campaign ad focusing on Social Security that says:

"Social Security has been there for George ever since his eyes gave out, ending his 30 years of service at Kwok's Chop Suey."

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In the campaign ad, Schatz highlighted the 200,000 people in Hawaii receiving Social Security and made a commitment to preserve and build on those benefits:

"I'm Senator Brian Schatz and I approve this message because protecting Social Security is a commitment I keep for my loved ones."

"It's a good campaign issue if you make it a good campaign issue," said political analyst Neal Milner.

Milner says it is an issue Schatz and his primary opponent, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, have similar stances on. But, Schatz has pointed out Hanabusa's vote last year for a deficit-reduction package that included some cuts to Social Security even though other key Democrats voted for it as well.

"We all stand with our seniors and one thing you just don't do, and one of them is even consider any cuts to the Social Security program," said Schatz.

"He doesn't have the advantage in terms of name recognition or incumbency, so a lot of this is saying 'I'm the true Democrat here,'" said Milner.

But Monday's headline is President Barack Obama's early endorsement for Sen. Schatz. It is a move Milner calls uncharacteristic, but not unexpected.

"It's confirmation that we are working on the right thing. We're fighting for Hawaii's values and priorities and it's important that Hawaii has a friend in President Obama," said Schatz.

You may remember Schatz supported the president during his bid against Sen. Hillary Clinton while Hanabusa supported Clinton. Now Hanabusa's camp was quick to re-release Obama's taped commercial during her run for Congress in 2010, where the president said:

"I need a partner I trust like Colleen Hanabusa. Colleen's values are Hawaii's values. They're the values I learned growing up. That's why she'll defend Medicare and Social Security."

Hanabusa's spokesperson released a statement Monday saying:

"This election will be decided by the people of Hawaii and we will continue to listen to their concerns and work hard to provide them the representation they expect and deserve."

Brian Schatz and Barack Obama

Brian Schatz and Barack Obama

Brian Schatz and Barack Obama

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