Democrats are unveiling their latest political weapon Wednesday, but one with a softer edge. First lady Michelle Obama heads to Wisconsin and Illinois to gather support for struggling Democrats ahead of the mid-terms. The seemingly reluctant campaigner Mrs. Obama, says her first priority are her kids. However, with the Democratic majority in both houses of congress in danger, the first lady will be bringing her own brand of politics on the road, mom-style.
Speech excerpts released by the first lady's office reveal the core message she'll be sending, "[M]ore than anything else, I come at this as a mom. When I think about the issues facing our nation, I think about what it means for my girls...and I think about what it means for the world we're leaving for them and for all our children."
From the day the first lady's office announced she'd be pitching for the party, they made it clear she will leave the politics to the politicians. President Obama and Vice President Biden have become more direct in their debate with the GOP; most recently accusing the Chamber of Commerce and organizations headed by Karl Rove of using foreign money to fund ads against the Democrats.You won't hear direct attacks on the GOP or overtly political speak.
"I think you'll see her make -- you'll see her make a very positive case for these candidates; not get involved in the back-and-forth of normal political campaigns," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Tuesday.
So why send the first lady at all then?
"[S]he's an invaluable asset, and my guess is we'll get good response out there on the campaign trail," Gibbs added.
Clearly, her presence alone by a candidate's side is a political move in and of itself. It's something candidates are banking will pay off figuratively and literally.
Milwaukee will be Mrs. Obama's first stop Wednesday. She will pitch for long-serving Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, who is trailing his opponent in the most recent polling. Then it's off to Chicago to stump for Alexi Giannoulias, locked in a skin-of-his teeth battle for the Senate seat once held by President Obama.
Mrs. Obama will cap off her day at a joint Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser benefitting three Ohio candidates for the House; Representatives Debbie Halvorson and Bill Foster, who are in tight races to keep their seats, and independent business consultant Dan Seals, who is hoping to be a gain for the Democrats, filling seat a previously Republican-held seat.
While not engaging in the politics of the day, Mrs. Obama will use her folksy approach to get at the bigger issues on voters minds. "As I travel around this country, and look into the eyes of every single child I meet, I see what's at stake," she is expected to say.
"I see it in the child whose mom has just lost her job and worries about how her family will pay the bills. I see it in the child whose dad has just been deployed and tries so hard to be brave for his younger siblings. I see it in the child stuck in a crumbling school, who looks around and wonders, "What does this mean for my future?"