August 6th, 2009
01:09 PM ET
9 years ago

Campaigner in Chief back on the trail

President Obama will campaign and raise money for Creigh Deeds in Virginia on Thursday night.

President Obama will campaign and raise money for Creigh Deeds in Virginia on Thursday night.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama hopes to help out a fellow Democrat tonight, as the president makes his first appearance on the campaign trail this year in Virginia, where his party's trying to hold onto the governor's office.

The president's the main attraction at a fundraiser and rally in McLean, Virginia for Creigh Deeds, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in this November's election. The state senator is locked in what polls suggest is a tough contest with Republican Bob McDonnell, the former state attorney general. Virginia's incumbent governor, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine, is term-limited and can't run for re-election.

This will be Obama's second campaign event since taking over as president in January. Last month, the president teamed up with New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, who faces a tough re-election battle this year, at a campaign rally in the Garden State.

On the same day Obama was stumping for Corzine, Vice President Joe Biden headlined a fundraiser in Richmond, Virginia for Deeds.

New Jersey and Virginia are the only states to hold gubernatorial elections this year. While both contests will focus on state issues and the strengths of the candidates, national Republicans would like to make both races a referendum on Obama and the Democratic Party, since both seats are currently held by Democrats.

"After two tough election cycles, the Republican Party is in need of some good news," says CNN Political Editor Mark Preston. "If the GOP is able to win both of these seats, it will be viewed by some as a shift in momentum away from the president and congressional Democrats. Even a pickup of one of these seats would be a huge psychological victory for Republicans heading into the 2010 midterm elections."

How can the GOP give a local race national resonance? Force the Democratic candidate in a generally conservative state to publicly side with the national party, then highlight those stands. Take the federal stimulus: Deeds favors accepting the federal funds, and McDonnell opposes the idea. Last month, during the candidates' first debate, McDonnell challenged Deeds to state where he stands on a number of other national issues. Deeds, meanwhile, accused McDonnell of focusing too heavily on federal questions.

This Saturday, McDonnell will deliver the weekly national Republican radio address, the Republican National Committee confirmed Tuesday. The address is often delivered by a Republican member of Congress or sitting governor. McDonnell has campaigned and raised money with a number of national Republican figures, including Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Michael Steele.

In coordination with Obama's visit Thursday, the Deeds campaign re-launched their Web site, abandoning their green-and-blue color scheme in favor of a sleek Obama-esque blue-and-white layout.

Campaign manager Joe Abbey said the new site is patterned after the Obama campaign's online efforts in 2008, and he promised that the Deeds campaign is "ramping up our online capacity to organize and activate the grassroots in every community" in Virginia.

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby contributed to this report

Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Creigh Deeds • President Obama
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Pete East

    Obama hits the campaign trail? When did he ever leave it?

    August 6, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. Belle1

    Obama should not be on the "campaign trail."

    The real issue is, and continues to be the mortgage melt down. Small business owners use their homes for credit lines on their businesses. The mortgage melt down meant there was not equity, hence no credit line.

    What that really means? Once you run out of money, you are out of business.

    August 6, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. Tom Paine

    He certainly ain't "Leader-in-Chief"

    August 6, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. Fred the Moderate

    GW used tax payer money to campaign, fund raise and work for GOP candidates. Not a single person from that party complained! Amazing how hypocritical things get when it's on the other foot!

    August 6, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    At least you have the correct title.

    August 6, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  6. Baze

    Gotta keep your constituency empowered.

    August 6, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. Jon in CA

    And he wonders why his poll numbers are dropping like a rock??


    Obama spends more time on the campaign trail LECTURING the American people... rather than actually LISTENING to us to create GOOD legislation!

    OOPS – I suppose my "fishy" opinion will land me on the White House's enemies list??

    August 6, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. haren

    looks like america is going to take poll every 100 day of this best president we have after so many decades.

    August 6, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. Dave

    I'll bet that after this "event" is over, McDonnell's poll numbers go even higher. If i was canpaigning as a Democrat i would avoid Obama like the plague.

    August 6, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. cnn=right wing media

    This is not news: For your information; he is the Commander in Chief

    August 6, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  11. Expat American

    "......Campaigner in Chief back on the trail...."
    Way to stir up the tender sensitivities of the opposition, CNN!


    August 6, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. Maria - Proud Democrat

    I wish our President would spend more time working on solving this nations problems and less time campaigning.

    We elected a President in Chief NOT a Campaigner in chief.

    We have a very capable DNC Chairman who should be taking care of any and all campaign issues.

    Please Mr. President focus on fixing our economy, we are losing our homes and jobs and frankly it is making our fellow Democrats look bad. It appears that Democrats care more about getting re-elected than they do about the fact that Americans are struggling to keep food on the table.

    August 6, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. Virginia Lover

    Yes We Can!!

    OHH, Yes We Did!!!

    And ,Yes We Will Again!!!!!

    Gov. Deeds '09!!!

    August 6, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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