President Barack Obama’s political team kept a blast-zone distance from Democrat David Weprin in the days leading to his defeat in New York’s special election — but that didn’t shield the president and the White House from a fresh wave of Democratic panic and finger-pointing.

On Tuesday night, Republican upstart Bob Turner cast his stunning 54 percent to 46 percent victory in the “safe” Democratic seat formerly held by Anthony Weiner as “a referendum” on Obama’s economic and foreign policy failings. And on Wednesday, the vanquished joined the victor in pointing to Obama as the key factor.

“The media [and] my opponent somewhat successfully made it a referendum on Obama,” Weprin told Washington Jewish Week, adding that the president, “has some major issues in New York. … I certainly suffered from the effects of that.”

The level of apoplexy among the Democratic rank and file isn’t quite up to the pitch of January 2010, when sure-bet Democrat Martha Coakley lost to little-known Republican state legislator Scott Brown in Massachusetts, erasing Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. But it seemed to put a damper on any renewed optimism engendered by Obama’s well-received jobs speech last week.

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