President Obama rallied yesterday for Creigh Deeds, the embattled Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee, who finds himself trailing his Republican opponent, Bob McDonnell, by double digits in most recent polls. With Election Day only a week away, Obama, the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Virginia in 44 years, spoke of the difficulty of getting elected in Virginia, but urged the crowd at Norfolk's Old Dominion University that the race was not yet over.
"Let's just be straight here," Obama said. "Let's be honest. This is going to be a tough race. We've got a tough economy, and even if it wasn't a tough economy it's always tough in Virginia." But, he added, "I'm urging you to cast aside the cynics and the skeptics and anyone who says this race is as good as over. Because the final word doesn't belong to them -- it belongs to you. And nobody knows that better than I do."
The New York Times on Obama and Virginia: "While the president has only tepidly engaged in the contest, the outcome is seen by many as at least some kind of a test of Mr. Obama's popularity, considering he was the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Virginia in 45 years." And although press secretary Robert Gibbs yesterday told reporters that "the notion that this [election is] somehow a referendum on President Obama is just not the case," at the rally the president "linked himself directly to the Democratic candidate. 'We have just begun to deliver on the change you voted for, and we need a partner like Creigh Deeds to help us finish what we started,' Mr. Obama said."
Here's our take on the latest NBC/WSJ poll: "As the Obama administration decides whether or not to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll finds that a plurality of Americans now backs a troop increase, and a strong majority supports waiting on a decision until after the country conducts its presidential runoff election next month. Also, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid moves forward crafting a Senate health-care bill that contains a public option -- with a state "opt out" -- the survey shows support for a government-run insurance plan is at its highest level since the debate began and opposition is at its lowest level."
"Perhaps most revealing, the poll highlights the public's disgust at Washington, with the number trusting government at its lowest level in 12 years and with nearly half of Americans favoring the creation of a new political party."
Here's the Wall Street Journal's: "Americans are growing increasingly pessimistic about the economy after a mild upswing of attitudes in September. But Republicans haven't been able to profit politically from the economic gloom… The survey found a country in a decidedly negative mood, nearly a year after the election of President Barack Obama. For the first time during the Obama presidency, a majority of Americans sees the country as being on the wrong track."
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that the debate in the Obama administration is no longer about WHETHER to send in troops, but HOW many. "President Obama's advisers are focusing on a strategy for Afghanistan aimed at protecting about 10 top population centers, administration officials said Tuesday, describing an approach that would stop short of an all-out assault on the Taliban while still seeking to nurture long-term stability. Mr. Obama has yet to make a decision and has other options available to him, but as officials described it, the debate is no longer over whether to send more troops, but how many more will be needed."
First Lady Michelle Obama will be at Game 1 of the World Series tonight.