MINOT, N.D.—When asked recently by The Hill newspaper whether or not she'd like former President Barack Obama to campaign for her here in North Dakota, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp was blunt in response.
"Nope, no," the paper quoted her as saying. Of course Heitkamp doesn't want Obama on the campaign trail for her. When it's an election year, Heitkamp likes to pretend like she's independent from her national political party.
The last thing she needs in front of North Dakota voters is a high-profile national Democrat touting her for another term in the Senate.
But when it isn't an election year, Heitkamp has a long history of being very supportive of people like Obama.
In 2008, Heitkamp, then eight years removed from a failed gubernatorial campaign and still four years away from the narrow victory which put her in the U.S. Senate, took some time at the Democratic Party's national convention to expound on video about the greatness of then-candidate Barack Obama.
"I'm sure Barack Obama is going to be amazing," Heitkamp said into the camera, standing in a hotel hallway next to her talk-radio host brother. The video was recorded by a man named Chad Nodland, author of a now defunct left wing blog, and uploaded by him to YouTube.
In 2012, when Heitkamp was running for her first term in the Senate while posturing as an independent moderate, Nodland (then member of the Democratic National Committee) removed the video from YouTube and threatened anyone who published it.
"If and when I catch people using any of my original material — pictures, video or otherwise — without first at least negotiating a price or asking for permission, whether they use them for their own use on YouTube or elsewhere, I will take any and all action to protect copyrighted material I own," he said in an email to The Daily Caller.
Heitkamp won in 2012, and immediately became one of Obama's most loyal supporters in the Senate, voting about 97 percent of the time with his agenda in 2013 according to the voting records compiled by Congressional Quarterly.
In 2013, Heitkamp also signed a letter urging Hillary Clinton to run for the presidency.
In 2016, Heitkamp was again on camera shouting her support for Clinton's candidacy. "We're supporting Hillary Clinton because she is going to be one of the greatest presidents in the United States of America," she said.
Democrats couldn't disappear this footage. It was on C-SPAN.
Yet this election year when Heitkamp was asked about Clinton during one of those nepotistic propaganda sessions she does on her brother's radio show, she said Clinton couldn't ride off into the sunset "fast enough."
To review, when Heitkamp isn't on the ballot in an election year, she is a full-throated supporter of her party and its candidates.
When she is on the ballot, Heitkamp tries to distance herself from those candidates, apparently thinking her constituents are a bunch of dumb rubes who won't remember her previous positions.
Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator. Follow him on Twitter at @RobPort and listen on WDAY AM 970.