A telling indicator of President Barack Obama's political standing comes when Democratic congressional candidates are forced to weigh in on his various proposals.
So it is not without significance that hours after the White House introduced its FY2011 budget proposal Democratic Senate candidate Robin Carnahan -- Missouri's Secretary of State and a figure well liked within the progressive community -- put out a statement expressing what she called her disappointment with Obama's lack of fiscal discipline.
"From where I stand here in Missouri, I'm disappointed in the President's budget recommendation. Budgets are about setting priorities and it's time Washington started making fiscal discipline and tackling the long-term budget deficit higher priorities.
"For too long, officials in Washington, including Congressman Blunt, have contributed to our country's growing deficit with their wasteful government spending, earmarks and favors for corporate special interests. In fact, as part of the Republican Congressional leadership, Congressman Blunt helped turn a $128 million surplus in 2001 into a $1.2 trillion deficit by 2009.
"Missouri families have to balance their checkbooks and our government should be no different, so I urge our elected officials in Washington on both sides of the aisle to work together to get our country's long term deficit under control."
Statements like these follow the distinctively Missouri style of politics, where budget discipline and deficit hawkery are golden traits. It's the platform on which Sen. Claire McCaskill rode into office in 2006.
But for an Obama White House that is touting the deficit reducing measures it has thrown into the budget (from spending caps, to prospective cuts in defense programs, to "restoring some balance to the tax code") comments like Carnahan's don't help.