Can White House help Democrats campaign this year? Paging Michelle Obama.
Arguably the most popular surrogate for her husband’s 2012 reelection campaign, the first lady is stumping in key 2013 races, untainted by the brouhahas polarizing Washington.
Her husband’s White House is consumed with handling fallout from the scandal du jour – Benghazi, the IRS, the First Amendment – but Michelle Obama appears more than just untainted, proving anew her mettle on the campaign trail despite the brouhahas polarizing Washington.Skip to next paragraph
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Arguably the most popular surrogate for her husband’s 2012 reelection campaign, the first lady is stumping in key 2013 races. On Thursday she is raising money for Terry McAuliffe – the former Democratic National Committee chief running for Virginia governor – at a hotel fundraiser in vote-rich Fairfax County.
"Michelle Obama has been a leader on standing up for women, military families and children, and Terry McAuliffe is committed to continuing that work,” says McAuliffe campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin. “She is one of the most popular figures in America, and we're really excited to have her here in Virginia."
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The Virginia race is an off-season election, but the contest is critical. The state – captured twice by President Obama – is purple, and it’s one Democrats hope to convert for the foreseeable future. A heated battle between Mr. McAuliffe and GOP nominee Ken Cuccinelli is dominating the airwaves, and both candidates are trying to woo female voters and reach across the aisle to build a winning coalition to succeed Republican incumbent Bob McDonnell.
Paging Michelle Obama. (It’s worth noting that the president has yet to campaign for McAuliffe.)
“The first lady is traditionally a great draw for a big crowd, and she has little of the downside presented by her husband's controversies,” says Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. “People assume that the first lady isn't involved in Oval Office skullduggery, and usually this is the correct evaluation. Pat Nixon had no involvement with Watergate, and Hillary Clinton certainly wasn't aware of Monica Lewinsky's services to her husband.”