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September 18, 2008

Hagan To Campaign With M. Obama

While Barack Obama has not been the most helpful presidential nominee for his party's Senate and House candidates, Michelle Obama will do her part today in North Carolina.

The Democratic presidential nominee refused to give money to Democratic Senate candidates, Politico's John Bresnahan reported on Tuesday, and he's only cut advertisements for or appeared with a small handful of members of Congress and candidates. But his wife will spend today stumping with one of the party's most promising, and surprising, new challengers.

Michelle Obama will share a stage with Democratic State Senator Kay Hagan at the Carolina Theater in Greensboro this afternoon. It's Hagan's home base, and she'll need a big turnout there in her surprisingly tough challenge to Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole.

Lately, several political analysts have rated the race a tossup, giving Democrats hope of knocking off a candidate once seen as unbeatable. The two have run a series of ads slamming each other, while both the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have dumped millions into their own ad campaigns.

Now, both candidates are accusing the other of profiting off the increase in gas prices, as Glenn Thrush writes today. Hagan's husband has a partnership with stakes in gas wells across the country, while Dole and husband Bob own a stake worth at least $1 million in an offshore hedge fund with interests in oil and gas speculation.

Can Hagan pull off what would amount to a stunning upset? One thing the campaign may be counting on, an excited Democratic electorate leading to an increased turnout especially among African Americans is key to Hagan's strong performance. Obama's visit today is sure to get the base enthused.