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Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 11:04am

Barrow, GOP Tussle On Obama Ties

US Congressman John Barrow is offering muted backing of Barack Obama in this year's presidential race.

The Augusta Democrat's office didn't mention the President by name in a statement endorsing him this week.

A spokesman says, Barrow will support "the top of his party's ticket."

Barrow already has said, he'll be skipping the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte next month.

The Obama endorsement comes in response to media queries about the Congressman's distance from the President.

GOP ads pillory Barrow as an Obama supporter, though he often opposes the White House.

Savannah College of Art and Design School of Liberal Arts Dean Robert Eisinger says, Barrow is going to endorse Barack Obama but "he need not advertise that endorsement."

"It is not relevant to him," Eisinger says. "Especially in places where President Obama is unpopular."

Republican lawmakers recently drew Democratic-leaning Savannah out of Barrow's East Georgia 12th Congressional Distric.

That makes ties to Obama less of an advantage and Barrow's re-election less certain -- even if Barrow, a member of the conservative Democratic Blue Dog coalition, frequently opposes the White House on critical issues.

"To describe him as an Obama clone is quite a stretch," Eisinger says. "Nonetheless, 'guilt by association' is quite common in campaigns and the 12th Congressional District race is not unique in that regard."

Asked about Barrow's distance from the adminstration, his spokesman, Richard Carbo, said that the Congressman actually votes with the Republican majority leader about 50% of the time and that voters don't want a rubber-stamp for either party.

"John Barrow can't support a Romney-Ryan ticket that wrote the plan to cut Medicare like Lee Anderson would," Carbo says, referring to Barrow's presumed Republican opponent. "Lee is hiding from this issue, because he knows the voters won't accept how he and his ticket are going to cut Medicare."

Republican are blasting voters with a statement that the Congressman once made on a campaign mailer -- that Barrow works "hand in hand" with Barack Obama.

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