01:34 - Source: CNN
CO. Dem Senator reacts to Obama speech

Story highlights

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich said he opposes arming Syrian rebels

Colorado Sen. Mark Udall is challenging the President's unilateral authority

In New Hampshire, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, tried to look tough against Obama

CNN  — 

In the face of several tough upcoming Senate races, many Democratic candidates have found a multitude of ways to separate themselves from the President’s most recent speech on ISIS.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich said he opposes arming Syrian rebels. “We must have greater assurance that we aren’t arming extremists who will eventually use the weapons against us,” he said.

Begich has been working to distance himself from the President on a multitude of issues in a tight Senate race.

5 takeaways from Obama’s speech

After the speech, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall challenged the President’s suggestion that he has unilateral authority to expand military operations. He said Obama must receive authorization from Congress to do some of the things outlined in the speech. “I will not give this president – or any other president – a blank check to begin another land war in Iraq,” Udall said in a statement.

Udall’s demand that Congress go on the record is contrary to conventional wisdom that campaigning lawmakers don’t want to go on record before a war-weary electorate weeks before an election. But he’s running against a member of Congress, Rep. Cory Gardner, so if Udall has to take a vote, Gardner does too – and both will be held accountable.

After the President spoke, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire attempted to look tough against the President of the same party. “I will continue to press the President to use all of the tools at his disposal, short of ground troops, to defeat ISIS,” she said.

Shaheen’s challenger, Scott Brown, has been making ISIS and terrorism an issue on the campaign trail in the tightening race.

Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina took an approach similar to Shaheen’s. “I pressed the administration to arm and empower moderate Syrian rebels and I am glad that effort will be accelerated.”

Hagan presented an image of someone who was standing up to the President, responding to attacks made by her challenger in an upcoming Senate race, Thom Tillis, who has argued that Hagan is a puppet of Obama.

Tillis said after Obama’s speech: “The job of a senator is to stand up to the President when they are wrong, something Sen. Hagan has repeatedly refused to do.”

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