The president is in Virginia Friday, campaigning for a House candidate for only the second time this entire election season, but if Tom Perriello loses comes Tuesday, it could be because of his close ties with the administration.
In 2008 Perriello won VA-5 by only 727 votes, getting swept into Congress with other Democrats who benefited from riding the coat tails of President Obama. But this time around those tails aren't doing much for Perriello.
Experts say Perriello has had a target on his back ever since he was certified the winner of VA-5 in 2008, despite all his work on the Hill. "Perriello has worked hard since day one, holding over 20 town halls each year, and that work has certainly helped his image. The bigger factor, though, may be his votes for health care reform, the stimulus, and cap and trade, not to mention that pesky one for Nancy Pelosi as speaker when he was first sworn in," says Isaac Wood of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.
Perhaps in an effort to reward Perriello for all the votes he made in Congress in line with the president's agenda, Obama is throwing his weight - good or bad - behind the loyal candidate.
In addition to the Friday event, the president even had a shout out for Perriello and other Democrats who have been on his side on "The Daily Show" Wednesday night. "The fact is that there are a bunch of folks who, during the course of this year, took really tough votes, that they knew were bad politics, because they thought they were the right things to do," Obama said. "There were a whole bunch of Democrats - guys like Tom Perriello...you know, they won in the big surge that we had in 2008, they knew it was going to be a tough battle, that these are generally pretty conservative districts and yet still went ahead and did what they thought was right."
Not surprisingly, Perriello's opponent, Robert Hurt, doesn't agree with the president on Perriello's time in Congress. Hurt's campaign is hoping the visit Friday will have a negative effect on his opponent's campaign, telling Fox the visit by the president could actually help Republican fundraising and the get-out-the-vote operation for their campaign in the closing days.
"When President Obama and Congressman Perriello stand side by side at their campaign rally, it will leave voters with a permanent and lasting impression of how Congressman Perriello has served as an unabashed ‘yes man' for the Obama-Pelosi job killing agenda," says Hurt Campaign spokesperson Amanda Henneberg. "Congressman Perriello's reward for supporting the failed trillion dollar stimulus, government takeover of health care, and cap and trade is having President Obama crown him the new poster boy for big spending, big government policies."
Experts say with the election just days away and the eight-point lead Hurt has over Perriello, now might be the time for a big gamble by the Democrat.
"It is a roll of the dice to have the president stump for you in a district where he is unpopular on the whole, but with Perriello trailing narrowly, perhaps it is the right time to make that gamble," says Wood.
Meanwhile, it's not just the Hurt campaign that will be watching the president in Charlottesville. Americans for Prosperity, a grass roots group accused by the president of doing political bidding for foreign entities, has put out a call on their website asking members to attend Friday's Obama rally as a sign of protest. AFP is also asking its members to attend a rally in Philadelphia, Pa. Saturday where President Obama will be making another campaign stop.
The president will also campaign in Connecticut, Illinois and Ohio before heading back to the White House Sunday night. He'll spend Election Day in Washington.