October 27th, 2009
09:55 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama back on the trail

Obama is heading back to the campaign trail on behalf of Virginia's Creigh Deeds.

Obama is heading back to the campaign trail on behalf of Virginia's Creigh Deeds.

(CNN) – Amid some controversy, President Barack Obama returns to the campaign trail Tuesday afternoon in Virginia to lend a helping hand to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.

The president teams up with Deeds at a rally in Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. The event comes just hours after the release of a new poll that suggests Deeds trails his Republican rival Bob McDonnell by double digits, with a week to go until election day.

The rally also comes just a few days after negative quotes about Deeds from anonymous Obama administration officials appeared Friday in the Washington Post. Unnamed administration officials told the paper that if Deeds loses, it will be his own fault for shunning White House advice and not doing enough to embrace Obama on the campaign trail.

Asked Monday if the White House has been happy with the Deeds campaign, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said "that's not for me to pass judgment on."

A well-known Democratic strategist in Virginia, David "Mudcat" Saunders, blasted the White House for placing anonymous quotes in the Washington Post. Saunders told CNN Friday that trying to blame Deeds is "bulls**t" when Democrats around the country are "just tired of politics."

According to a Washington Post poll released Monday night, 55 percent of likely Virginia voters say they back McDonnell, the state's former attorney general, with 44 percent supporting Deeds, a state senator from the rural western part of the state. McDonnell's 11-point advantage is up from an 9-point margin last month.

The survey indicates that McDonnell holds double-digit advantages on such issues at the economy, taxes, and transportation - and now leads Deeds for the first time in this campaign on issues of special concern to women.

According to the poll, McDonnell leads among independent voters 61 percent to 36 percent. Deeds is ahead by 7 points in northern Virginia, a stronghold for Democrats, but the poll suggests he trails in every other region across the state.

The president's appearance with Deeds Tuesday will be the second time Obama has teamed up with his fellow Democrat. But seven in 10 people questioned say the president won't be a factor in their vote. Only three in 10 say their perceptions of Obama will influence their vote.

Last November, Obama became the first Democrat to win Virginia in a presidential election in 40 years, thanks in part to an outpouring of excitement among younger voters and minority voters. But the poll suggests Deeds hasn't been able excite supporters this time around, with just 22 percent of his backers saying they are very enthusiastic about his candidacy. Nearly four in 10 McDonnell supporters say they are very enthusiastic.

The race is to succeed current Gov. Tim Kaine, who's term limited and prevented from running for re-election. Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, acknowledged Friday a "challenging" environment for Democrats in his home state but held out hope that his party's gubernatorial nominee could still rally the voters who helped President Obama win Virginia last November. Kaine also downplayed the anonymous quotes from administration officials in the Washington Post.

While the contest in Virginia focuses on state issues and the two candidates themselves, it's also seen by some as an early ballot box test, or referendum, on the Obama White House and the policies they're pushing.

"The race in Virginia is partially about the broad national environment, how the two political parties are doing, and how the president is doing," said Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report.

McDonnell's campaign appears to be trying to nationalize the contest, by linking Deeds to the Democrats who control the White House and Congress. A McDonnell television ad says "Creigh Deeds supports Washington's job killing policies."

"I have made the national issues an issue in this race," McDonnell told CNN's Jessica Yellin.

At a debate last month, Deeds was asked by the moderator if he was a Barack Obama Democrat.

"I would try to escape that by saying I'm a Creigh Deeds Democrat," responded Deeds, who also acknowledges that "a lot of what's going on in Washington has made it very tough."

If they win back the governor's office, "the Republicans could now show they are alive and well and they are competitive in Virginia, but it also sends a national message about the Republicans' ability to come back in the Obama era," says Mark Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University in Virginia.

CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Creigh Deeds • President Obama
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. K2

    For one day, Obama will be doing something he is competent doing. Too bad it has nothing to do with economics.

    October 27, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. Great campaigner, effective politician, lousy president

    Obama/Biden = One and done.

    October 27, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. One and done will be fun

    The above picture is where Obama was dropping his "G's" as he was in front of a certain type of audience and he needed to dumb it down by talking their language.

    Funny how Democrats do this all the time (Hillary many times as well) and they don't get called on it, but Bush and Palin as part of THERE DIALECT and speech pattern DO IT for real and they are mocked....

    This gutless fraud of a President is still using the "present" voting button and yet while running around being the campaigner in chief and PEOPLE ARE DYING, he get's a pass from the pathetic left.

    More golfing and campaigning than BUSH did in his first 9 months and it isn't close, but he is such a good uh, uh, uh, h, uh speaker and "We love you Mr. Prissident" so say the sheep.

    Prissident, I like that.

    October 27, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. The Reasonable Man

    Returns to the campaign trail....don't you have to leave something to return to it?

    October 27, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  5. Mike Syracuse, NY

    That's right Obozo. Campaign your term away. Come 2012 it's bye, bye. While you campaign troops are dying at record numbers in Afghanistan waiting for help. You are a disgrace.

    October 27, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  6. felicia

    You keep going President Obama, and carry on and don't stop until you've accomplished what you set ou to do

    October 27, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  7. Mike in SA

    "Obama back on the trail"...has he ever gotten off the campaign trail???

    October 27, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  8. New Age Independent

    Granted, Obama is a very good speaker and campaigner. I dont mind him supporting his choices, every President has done that to some extent. However, there are more important things that need to be done instead of the CONTINUOUS campaigning that he's doing.

    October 27, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. Lacrosse Mama not for Obama from Bad Newz, VA

    Back on the campaign trail? I guess that's better than the golf course. 24 rounds of golf in 1st 9 months of office. Former President Bush played 24 rounds his entire presiedncy and none after the invasion of Iraq in October, 2003. (2 years, 9 months in office). So it's back out on the campaign trail, where he is more comfortable. I guess he needs more time to "decide" what he is going to do about Afghanistan. 16 killed yesterday and 8 more killed today. But wait...it's only been 9 months and he inherited this problem and it's not going to happen over night and Fox News is spreading lies and......stop the excuses and start governing. We need a leader right now. Get off the campaign trail and start acting like one.

    October 27, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. Where is our President?

    Where is our Presidnet?

    Gitmo remains open and the Prez is campaiging.

    Troops die in Afghanistan daily; commanders cry for help; and our President is campaigning

    Iraq is undergoing carnage, and our President is campaigning

    Health Care Reform sits in a dark dingy room in the recesses of the Capitol Building, and our President is campaigning

    Bank reform has not happened, and our President is campaigning.

    Where is our President? Doing the only things he knows how to do – talk and campaign.

    October 27, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. Ace

    Since when has the Campaigner and Chief been off the trail. He might get to running the country in year 3 or 4 and until then he will leave it up to the two incompetents, Pelosi & Reid.

    October 27, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  12. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but.....

    The dems should use reconciliation to pass healthcare reform with a public option. After all, republicans had no problem with using it during the Bush administration to pass 2 rounds of tax cuts, OK drilling in the Arctic, and pass a couple of other misc. pieces of legislation. See, republicans can use "Chicago strongarm tactics" too. But they never seem to mention that. Have a nice day!

    October 27, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  13. SLM

    Another roadside bomb kills 8 more in Afghanistan, but Obama can't be bothered with that, he's got campaigning to do!

    October 27, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Gotta hand it to him, Obama campaigns well.

    Maybe he should stick to being Campaigner-in-Chief rather than Spendthrift-in-Chief–I'd much rather have this guy be a do-nothing president than be a wreck-the-economy president.

    October 27, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  15. worriedmom

    What exactly was Obama elected for? President or fundraiser/organizer??? This man needs to get to work on jobs, jobs, job and supporting our troops!
    Go home! Deeds has lost thanks to you and Kaine

    October 27, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. File under "Sarcasm"

    Life is good when you're President! Golfing all weekend and flying around on Air Force One all week doing what Obama does best; making campaign speeches with empty promises of "hope and change" and "choice and competition".

    I'm glad he's got Emanual, Axelrod and Jarrett staying in Washington handling those pesky details like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Healthcare, the economy, cap and trade, immigration, and so on and so forth.

    October 27, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. No More insanity

    president Dolittle needs to make up his mind. Send more troops or pull out. Everyday he drags this on real lives are put in danger. Enough with the campaigning and do your job. You had no problem criticizing the previous administration but are unable to make up your mind. It is very clear you are waiting untill after the november elections to decide. Two problems with this approach. Frist it is clear you are more concerned with your image and the image of your party than the safty of our troops. Second by waiting you think it makes you look intelligent as if you were collecting all the facts, but the truth is you look weak because as a "leader" you should have already had a plan A and B and C. But while the politicians play their election games soldiers lives are lost. YOU ARE NOT UP FOR RE-ELECTION THIS NOVEMBER SO STOP PLAYING ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL AND STAY IN YOUR OFFICE. SEND THE NEEDED TROOPS OR PULL OUT.

    October 27, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  18. Chanel

    I like Pres Obama, so it pains me to say this... but he really needs to pipe down on the campaign trail. With everything that is going on... with the fact that he said he will not be hurried into a decision about Afghanistan... he really needs to focus his efforts elsewhere. I can understand not wanting to be rushed into troop level decisions right now, but I lost friends over there on Monday and... ... I want to believe that our President is working on that, not a campaign. I'm not even a Republican, but if this is how he is going to manage his time...

    October 27, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. Dar

    Dear Odumbo, PLEASE STOP SPENDING MY MONEY! The money that you are wasting on these trips could pay for a lot of homes, yes homes for people that need them badly. I heard (not sure) but it cost about 1/2 of a millon dollars for the president to fly on one of these trips. The country is broke and he just keeps on spending money like crazy. This guy doesnt get it at all. God help us.

    October 27, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  20. DH Mid MI

    We now see that Obam's campaign was simply public relations fluff and his idea of change and ours are two different things.

    I'd suggest to the voters of Virginia and New Jersey that they not let him fool them twice.

    October 27, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  21. Four and The Door

    Its difficult for voters to stay on the Democrat bandwagon when, having a Democrat in the White House and full control of both the Senate and The House of Representatives, so many programs have done so little to solve anything.

    The curse of getting everything on your wish list and more is that very quickly this shows how effective your policies are. The record since taking over the Federal Government does not help the Democratic Party. They have thrown big piles of cash at anything and everything but none of this has been very effective. Big on promises, small on results.

    October 27, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. Peter

    It's good to see him focusing on what he does best.

    October 27, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  23. Stu - Las Vegas

    From CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

    **** You keep running the same old story and photo****

    The POTUS is NOT on the "campaign trail !!!

    October 27, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. Sheena1a

    It seems Obama is more worried about getting votes than he is about our troops in Afganistan. He is dragging his ass bigtime with a important decision while our troops are getting killed every day.
    What kind of president is this, he wasn't voted into office to be a celebrity speaker and nothing else, this is getting really disturbing.
    And his Cronies keep screwing the people, taxes are now going up on auto insurance, I guess he and his cronies won't be happy till everyone is in poverty bigtime......

    October 27, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  25. Paul from Phoenix

    8 more troops dead today. How about instead of campaigning, he comes up with a strategy.

    He has played 26 rounds of golf already as president. Bush played 6 rounds, and Clinton 5 rounds up to this point. Now he is back on the campaign trail.

    Where is Michael Moore's movie about the time wasted by Obama? Golf, campaigning, trips overseas for the Olympics...How much more taxpayer money will he waste, and how many more troops lives will be lost before he figures out what he will do in Afghanistan???

    WHAT IS HE DOING???? Oh wait....nothing. Saturday Night Live was right.

    October 27, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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