[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/08/art.obama.speech.gi.jpg caption ="President Obama will campaign in Missouri and Nevada, where Democrats face tough election challenges."]
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama plays the role of campaigner-in-chief Thursday afternoon and evening, as he travels to Missouri and Nevada to help out fellow Democrats in two crucial Senate races.
On the president's official schedule, a visit Thursday to Smith Electric Vehicles in Kansas City, Missouri, where the White House says Obama will tour the facilities and deliver remarks on the economy to workers. But the president will also fit in a grassroots reception and fundraiser in Kansas City for Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, the presumptive Democratic nominee for Senate.
Carnahan will most likely face off in November against seven-term Republican Rep. Roy Blunt, in a battle between two of the most famous political families in the state. Both candidates are fighting to succeed Republican Sen. Kit Bond, who is not running for re-election this year. The race is one of the few where the Democrats have a chance to pick up a GOP held seat.
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This will be Obama's fourth trip to Missouri since he narrowly lost the state in the 2008 presidential election to Sen. John McCain by less than 4,000 votes.
In March, Republicans pounced on Carnahan when she didn't attend an Obama health care reform event in her state, saying she was trying to keep her distance from the president. Carnahan's campaign said she was in the Washington, DC for a conference as part of her duties as secretary of state. Carnahan did team up with Obama when he came back to Missouri a month later to hold an event on the economy.
"Presidential visits are a double-edged sword. They raise money for Democratic candidates and energize Democratic voters, but they give Republicans plenty of ammo and interject Obama into every contest," says Stuart Rothenberg, publisher and editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report.
Following his stop over in Missouri, the president heads west to Las Vegas, where he headlines a campaign rally and a fundraiser for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Thursday night at the Aria Resort and Casino. Polls indicate the four term Democratic senator faces a tough road to re-election this year. Friday, before leaving Nevada, Obama will hold an event on the economy at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Nevada currently has the highest state unemployment rate in the nation.
Obama headlined a Las Vegas fundraiser for Reid last summer, and the Senate Majority Leader has appeared along side the president at events in Nevada earlier this year.
"I'm happy the president's coming," Reid told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday.
"Robin Carnahan and Harry Reid have both endorsed President Obama's failed economic agenda in Washington, including his stimulus debacle and massive health spending bill, and there's no doubt that voters will hold them accountable for supporting these flawed policies when they elect Republicans this November," National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Amber Marchand tells CNN.
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