When he soared to victory by almost 10 million votes in 2008, President Obama won in states like Virginia that Democratic candidates had not captured since 1964. He was trumpeted as a transformational leader who remade American politics by creating a new electoral map and a diverse voter coalition to shape the Democratic Party for the 21st century.
But for now he has been reduced to something else: an isolated political figure who is viewed as a liability to Democrats in the very states where voters by the thousands had once stood to cheer him.
When Mr. Obama entered the campaign fray last week, he did so by returning to the unconditional embrace of his own hometown, in a blue state where the incumbent Democratic senator faces scant opposition and the Democratic governor is running in part on his support for the Affordable Care Act. On Tuesday, the president attended private fund-raisers in Manhattan, to be followed by similar events in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Arkansas it is not.