Despite voting for Obamacare and the immigration bill, Democratic senator Mark Pryor is trying to move away from President Barack Obama. In an interview with Virginia-based trade publication Politico, Pryor slams Obama, saying, “I think that President Obama has in some ways what you would think of as a hard-left agenda in various ways, and that agenda is not popular in our state. ... And a lot of that agenda I don’t support.”

Politico adds:

The mild-mannered Arkansas Democrat is projecting himself as an independent voice and a bipartisan consensus-builder — despite voting for Obamacare, the economic stimulus package and other controversial elements of the president’s domestic agenda.

Asked if he approved or disapproved of the president’s performance in office, Pryor took a long pause and said, “I would say, ‘Is there another option there?’”

But Pryor acknowledges that Obama “doesn’t connect well” with Arkansans.

Yet, Pryor thinks his Senate seat will remain Democratic:

Despite the GOP gains here, Pryor views them as a short-term blip in the Razorback State: He sees a resurgence of the Democratic brand, starting with the 2014 governor’s race behind Democratic candidate Mike Ross; state House elections where the party has a chance of taking back the chamber; the possibility of Democrats picking up one or two U.S. House seats; and the prospects of a Hillary Clinton 2016 bid putting the state back into play on the presidential level. And, naturally, he’s optimistic about his own chances next year.

“Our state just doesn’t fit the national paradigm,” Pryor said. “It’s stubbornly independent.”

To win another six years in the Capitol, the low-key and amiable Pryor is trying to sell himself as a man willing to work with the other party at a time of political paralysis in Washington, something he says would only worsen with the election of a hard-line conservative and bomb-thrower like Cotton.

Pryor faces Republican Tom Cotton in the 2014 election.

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