Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Goin' for the grits

Barack Obama and Mark Warner will campaign together in Martinsville. The invitation-only town hall meeting will focus on trade policy and jobs in a region hammered by job losses due to plant closings and moving overseas. The audience will include families and workers impacted by the failures of Bush administration trade policies. Later in the day Obama will join Senator Jim Webb in Lynchburg.
At a hastily called press event by the McCain campaign, retiring Representative Tom Davis, a northern Virginia Republican, bashed Obama for pandering to a community with high unemployment. Davis said Obama lacked the "courage" to come to Fairfax with his trade message. Scratching in the litter, trying to dig up something that sticks - Davis is practicing the politics of division of NOVA versus the Southside region. Glad this bird is flying at the end of this term.
Obama's stops in Virginia mirror Mark Warner's rural strategy that won him the statehouse and will send him to the U.S. Senate. To carry Virginia, a Democrat must do well in regions like the Southide, the Southwest, and the Shenandoah Valley - areas that for too long have been taken for granted by Republicans (who then ignored them once in office) and thought by Democrats as not winnable. By going to Martinsville (can you say NASCAR?) and Lynchburg (ground zero of the Bible belt) Obama is signaling that every Virginia vote counts and that the commonwealth will be a battleground.
I don't read too much in the fact that Governor Tim Kaine will not be joining Obama at these stops. The governor has plenty to deal with on the state budget that is turning red as the national economy continues to falter. A few days ago CCC posted that Kaine's VP star was fading. Some pundits think these Virginia campaign stops signal Kaine is the guy. Not that the budget woes disqualify Kaine, but they have already prompted partisan attacks that may be a distraction. For the reasons expressed earlier, I still think Senator Joe Biden will be crowing in Denver. We'll know soon!

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